Amina and Redha were immigrants. As a doctor and a pharmacist, they were successful professionals who had a comfortable home and financial security.
Their biggest challenge was raising their children as practicing Muslims, particularly as their oldest child, Basma, entered adolescence.
Basma was thriving in school, academically and socially.
While it was positive that she had so many friends and activities, her parents began to be worried about the kinds of events she wanted to attend: co-ed parties, school dances, outings to the mall, or movies where boys and girls from school would hang out together.
At the age of fourteen, most of Basma’s friends had boyfriends.
They began to wonder if Basma secretly did, too.
Amina and Redha decided to draw the line firmly. Basma would only be allowed to spend time with her female friends.
There would be no boy/girl outings for her, no co-ed parties, no school dances…and definitely no boyfriends.
Amina and Redha spoke about their decision with an older couple from their homeland who had already raised three children in the same non-Muslim country.
They expected to receive approval and support, so they were surprised when the couple took a different tack:
“You should not make her feel different from her peers,” protested their friend. “She will resent you and Islam.”
“But dating and free mixing are clearly prohibited in Islam,” argued Amina.
“When you chose to move to this country, you surely knew that this behavior is considered normal for youngsters?” probed the other friend.
“We are still Muslims, no matter where we live,” explained Redha. “We need to follow our beliefs no matter what others are doing.”
“Don’t be an extremist,” advised the first friend.
“Don’t you want to assimilate? Don’t you want your children and grandchildren to fit in? Besides, Basma is a good girl. I’m sure she won’t get into any big trouble. “But,” he added, “Have a talk with her about safe sex, just to be cautious.”
For the first time, Amina and Redha wondered if they were making the right decision for their teen-aged daughter.
They did not consider themselves extremists, but would others?
Would their own daughter begin to resent them and her faith? Would they ever fit into this country if they adhered to their Islamic beliefs?Pages: 1 2