What love has to do with religion
Christian-Muslim couples: "Everyone lives their own religion"
By Michael Hollenbach
One couple - two religions. A very special relationship. It is not known exactly how many bi-religious couples live in Germany. Because religious affiliation is not recorded at the registry office. But there are more and more - given the growing religious diversity in Germany, a country of immigration. There are also numerous Muslim-Christian partnerships among the bi-religious couples. What are the challenges you face? And how do they manage to cope with them?
Müzeyyen came to Germany from Turkey with her parents in 1969. When she introduced her German boyfriend at home at the age of 22, it was a shock for her parents: "The dream of the first generation was always that they would return," says Müzeyyen. "When the daughter marries a German and a theologian at that - they were afraid that they would not be able to realize this dream with the whole family and that the daughter of their own religion would be lost."
Her friend, Thomas Dreessen, was a Protestant theologian, vicar. It was clear to him at the time: his church would not accept a Muslim wife for a pastor. He got the backing of his father: "He said you have to choose between your career and your love now. I hope you choose your love."
"Two cultures know more than one. And it is the same with religions "
The two chose love. Thomas Dreessen did not become the parish priest, but worked as the social secretary of the Westphalian church. The bi-religious couple married in front of a Protestant altar. But they also later asked the imam whether he could recognize the marriage, reports Thomas Dreessen. "After four months there was an answer: 'For every wall that the prophet has put there is a door. The door is love'. We could live with that."
Gisela Groß-Ikkache also lives in a Christian-Muslim marriage. Her husband Benali comes from Tunisia: "It is definitely enriching. Two cultures know more than one. And it is the same with religions." For Gisela Groß-Ikkache, pastor of the Protestant student community in Hamburg, and for her Muslim husband, it was always clear: everyone lives their own religion, even in marriage. The more one recognizes each other's religious identity, says Gisela Groß-Ikkache, and the more stable each of the partners is in their own life, the less conflictual is a relationship.
Between mosque and church - growing up with two religions
But what about the religion of your own offspring? Müzeyyen and Thomas Dreessen have three children. "They were neither baptized nor circumcised," says Müzeyyen Dreessen. "We tried to educate them in both faiths. I took them to the mosque and we went to church regularly." Today a child is Christian; the other two are still looking religiously. The eleven-year-old daughter of Gisela Groß-Ikkache also grew up with both religions - with mosque and church, with sugar festival and Christmas: "She can always celebrate twice and she thinks that too."
Also mit learn to deal with what separates them
But the pastor from Hamburg also knows that two religions sometimes clash in her marriage. Her husband thinks very traditionally on some points. "When it comes to the relationship between science and creation, for example," she says. "He is much closer to some Christian conservative positions than I am. Or when it comes to whether same-sex forms of life are really wanted by God. He takes a different position than me."
Gisela Groß-Ikkache has advised bi-religious couples for a long time. Your experience: "Typical points of conflict are that you can often not distinguish: What is it actually about? Is it actually about something that is religiously based? Or is it about something else? Often it is about questions of power, it is about cultural influences, that are different. "
Not an easy way
Most bi-religious couples know, according to Gisela Groß-Ikkache: "It is not an easy path, it requires a lot of ability to communicate together." But if you go religiously on two tracks, that can also be an opportunity, says Müzeyyen Dreessen with a smile: "Maybe his path is right and he will bring me from hell to paradise, maybe my path is also right. So we stay on our paths . And this tolerance, I often want that from members of religious communities. We don't know which way is the right one. God alone knows. "
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NDR culture | Friday Forum | 12/14/2018 | 3:20 pm
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