Further, if an Italian woman marries a Muslim immigrant and they move to his country of origin, her rights are "not guaranteed in the way they are in Italy or in other Western nations." Such marriages, the statement concluded, should therefore be discouraged. 26, 2005 update: Stephen Fumio Hamao, a Japanese Catholic cardinal, wrote in 2004 about the "bitter experiences" of European women who marry Muslims. 23, 2007 update: The Kamil Internaltional Ministries Organization of Raleigh, North Carolina, has published a tract, "Why Women Should Not Marry Muslims?" It begins by contrasting verses from the Koran and New Testament: Because our country receives people of all nationalities, cultures and religions, you may meet and develop a relationship with a Muslim man.

It's remarkable that, multiculturalism notwithstanding, such institutions as the U. government and the Vatican are warning women away from inter-religious marriages. 1, 2005 update: Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Italian Bishops Conference and a right-hand man to Pope Benedict XVI, issued a statement yesterday on behalf of the conference, warning against Catholics marrying Muslims.

"In addition to the problems that any couple encounters when forming a family, Catholics and Muslims have to reckon with the difficulties that inevitably arise from deep cultural differences." He also noted that it is usually a Catholic woman who marries a Muslim men, that usually she converts, not he, and their children tend to be brought up as Muslims.

It is remarkable for its undiplomatic and anecdotal tone, so distant from the department's standard bureaucratic style.

For prospective spouses, "Marriage to Saudis" constituted an official tutorial in Saudi culture; for others, it served as a fascinating example of practical anthropology, school of hard knocks.

There is the universal recollection of approaching Riyadh and witnessing the donning of the black abayas and face veils by the fashionably dressed Saudi women.

For many women, the Saudi airport is the first time they see their husband in Arab dress (i.e., the thobe and ghutra).

Others have found solace in kindred spirits (see the posting of Becs).

Still others have drawn conclusions from their own experience and offered these for general use (see the posting of Standfree).

During it the two fiancés will be helped to know and consciously "assume" the profound cultural and religious differences they will have to face, both between themselves and in relation to their respective families and the Muslim's original environment, to which they may possibly return after a period spent abroad.

If the marriage is registered with a consulate of the Islamic country of origin, the Catholic party must beware of reciting or signing documents containing the shahada (profession of the Muslim belief).

A Muslim woman may not marry an unbeliever while a Muslim man may marry Christian and Jewish women." If the European men convert to Islam, that changes everything, he went on; then, Moroccan women may marry them.