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How To Introduce Your Jewish Partner To Your Muslim Parents

There is a history of conflict between Muhammad’s crowd and the people of Israel, so bringing home a Jewish partner to your Muslim parents can require some finesse.


  • Step 1: Now that you’ve done the groundwork, arrange the introduction over an activity, like dinner. Do not involve alcohol, as it is forbidden in Islam. You’ve got the pork thing covered.
  • Step 2: Ask your partner to wear modest clothing. Think business casual, so no shorts or thigh-baring skirts.
  • Step 3: Also ask your partner to avoid romantic touches, like holding hands or kissing. Do not recount your romantic weekend in Napa or the cute B&B you stayed in.
  • Step 4: Start the conversation with a topic like your partner’s occupation or hometown, or something your parents and your partner have in common, like a taste for Woody Allen.
  • Step 5: If your parents ask about your partner’s beliefs, let your partner explain. Be firmly but politely supportive.
  • FACT: Judaism traces its history through the descendants of Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah, while Islam traces its history through the descendants of Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar.
  • Step 6: Have patience, and remember your parents and your partner love you. Inshallah, things will work out in the end.
  • Step 7: If your parents express disappointment even after being charmed by your lovely partner, they may say something negative. Keep this to yourself—it will only make your partner feel bad.
  • Step 8: In advance, ask your partner not to mention possible sore spots such as conversion, Gaza, or U.S. foreign policy.
  • TIP: Neither Judaism nor Islam has a single central authority where the rules are definitively laid out, which can make things confusing and give you some wiggle room.
  • TIP: The Quran permits a Muslim man to marry a Christian or Jew, but does not directly address the case for a woman, which many take as an implicit prohibition—so if you’re a woman you may meet more resistance.
  • Step 9: If your parents have strongly pushed for a Muslim mate, your partner may view this as intolerance or even a personal affront. Spend some time explaining your parents’ views.
  • TIP: Islam and Judaism are both monotheistic religions. Remind your parents, gently, that things could be worse—you could be bringing home a polytheist, after all.
  • Step 10: If this is a serious relationship, stress that to your parents. Tell them you have thought a lot about it, and that this is not some passing fancy.
  • Step 11: If possible, describe your partner to your parents using terms like “doctor,” “sizable income,” “graduate degree,” “family-oriented,” and “Ivy League education.”
  • Step 12: If you’ve discussed children and your partner is amenable to raising them in the Muslim faith, make that clear. If not, table it for the future. You can’t tackle everything at once.
  • TIP: Just think: your partner will never come to dinner bearing a package of bacon.
  • Step 13: Remind your parents that, like Islam, Judaism is an Abrahamic religion and shares many beliefs and traditions with Islam.
  • Step 14: Assess your situation. Muslims can vary greatly in belief, observance, and adherence to tradition. Your parents could feel that they have failed by raising children who find partners outside the faith. Or they may not mind at all.

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