"It is almost like there is something they recognise about each other, there is an unconscious connection there - same kind of families, same kind of faith informing how they live life," Mrs Al-Yousuf says. However, inter-faith relationships also challenge both faiths. But Mrs Al-Yousuf, who now lives in Oxfordshire, thinks this figure could be higher as there could be many more unmarried couples who choose not to marry due to the complications caused by selecting a ceremony.When two planes hit the World Trade Centre on 9/11 in 2001, Heather Al-Yousuf says she felt sick when her husband suggested they recite the opening Sura from the Koran.“Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea against Allaah after the (coming of) Messengers” [al-Nisa’ 5] And He ended the series of His Messengers with Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allaah and the last (end) of the Prophets” [al-Ahzaab – interpretation of the meaning] Allaah sent him with the religion of Islam other than which He will not accept any religion from anyone: “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers” [Aal ‘Imraan – interpretation of the meaning] Secondly: With regard to when and how she may become Muslim: It is very easy indeed.All she has to do is to say “Ashhadu an laa ilaaha illaaha ill-Allaah wa ashhadu anna Muhammad ‘abduhu was rasooluhu (I bear witness that there is no god except Allaah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger).” Once she says that, she becomes Muslim.As a new poll suggests 60 per cent of Australians would be apprehensive if their relatives married Muslim people, Islamic leader Maha Abdo has questioned whether such concern is valid.“Everyone had a right to be concerned about things that they don’t know about,” Ms Abdo, executive officer of the United Muslim Women Association, told SBS.“I can’t take away the fear of other people, but all I can do is, wherever I can, provide a balanced perspective of Australian Muslims.” The poll, which surveyed 304 randomly selected Australians, asked respondents to answer on a five-point scale their perspective on a relative marrying a Christian (8.1 per cent), Buddhist (29.4 per cent) or Jewish (33 per cent).Islam forbids a Muslim woman from marrying a man from any other religion.
But their love was not straightforward as Heather is Anglican and her husband is Shia Muslim.
"That was quite an important psychological moment for me to get through, that negative association with all things Islamic." The family did recite the Sura, and Mrs Al-Yousuf also sang the Lord's My Shepherd.
"I suppose, when the chips are down, that's the religious experience that you want to hand on to your children, regardless of what else," says Mrs Al-Yousuf.
I will not speak of the “dangers hidden in Islamic marriages for Christian men” because Muslim law forbids women who confess Islam to enter into marriage with men of other religions.
Such limitations in Muslim law formulated in the Koran are explained by the secondary position of women with respect to men in Islam and the necessity of preventing them from changing religions.