On dating someone outside my religion

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[this is a snippet of my article for Hello Giggles which you can find here.]

At the very start of 2020, I met the love of my life. From the beginning, I knew if the relationship blossomed into something more serious, the journey would be fraught with hardship, guilt, and a semblance of questioning where I stand not just with my culture, but my religion and family, too.

My family is from Bangladesh and we’re Muslim. But as someone who is U.K. born and raised, I consider myself assimilating more to the Western cultural norms and values, preferring the freedom it comes with over that of my own cultural heritage. While arguably, Islam provides similar freedom to Muslim women, it prevents us from marrying outside of the religion. This is because children are supposed to grow up following the religion of their father. Mix that with the South Asian culture, and women are, from a young age; expected to behave a certain way; adhere to every expectation, rule, guideline, and tradition passed on over centuries. 

The thing is, my boyfriend is white and he’s not Muslim. But he’s a much better person than any Bengali or Muslim man I’ve ever personally met. However, I knew from the start my parents wouldn’t approve of him, so I kept our relationship a secret.

It’s a warning to not become one of those women who have children before marriage, the women who have the fire and courage to choose themselves, in spite of a culture doing everything it can to stifle them.  

Sumaiya ahmed

Who cares what God you believe, or don’t believe in, as long as you’re kind? 

Continue reading here . . .

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Things I’ve written recently:

Free eBook Promotion: THE ART OF FAKING IT
My Parents Are Making Me Feel Guilty For Loving Someone Outside My Religion
Let’s Talk About PCOS
Breathing Life Back Into Your Relationship: Keeping the Spark Alive
What Happens After The Bidaai: Unpacking Consent In Marriage
Behind The Sex: A Look Into Fucking For Validation
Erasing sex toy stigma in South Asian culture
Racism Among Immigrants Is Real, and It’s Our Generation’s Job to End It
Being a woman in this world shouldn’t mean fearing for our safety every day
I ended up in hospital after the first time I had sex
I was taught to believe solo sex is a sin — but it’s not shameful 

If you enjoy my writing, feel free to support my work via Paypal or buy me a digital Ko-Fi. If you’d like to commission me for any work, please check out my portfolio.

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Sumaiya Ahmed is a freelance journalist and writer, aiming to break down the boundaries of cultural stigma and shame attached to mental health and sexuality within the South Asian culture, and bringing marginalised topics to light.

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