Information on acts of violence against Muslim women who are married to Palestinian Christians [ISR15598.E]

According to a representative of the Palestine Human Rights Information Centre in Jerusalem, mixed marriages between Muslim women and Palestinian Christians men are not a common phenomenon within the Palestinian society (10 Nov. 1993). One of the reasons for this fact is that the Israeli laws do not permit mixed marriages (Ibid.). One way around these laws within the Palestinian society is usually for the Christian to convert to Islam because, according to the representative, "it is much easier and simpler to convert to Islam than to Christianity" (Ibid.). The representative added that the issue of mixed marriages meet with different reactions depending on the families involved; some Muslim families may disown daughters who marry non-Muslim while others may simply accept the fait accompli (Ibid.). This sensitive question is more a matter of traditional values than of religion (Ibid.). The representative reported that one of the reasons for resisting mixed marriages is that families want to bring up grandchildren in the same value system as their grandparents (Ibid.). The representative was not aware of any cases in which a Muslim woman was murdered for entering into a mixed marriage (Ibid.).

A representative of the Society of St-Yves, a Christian human rights organization based in Jerusalem, stated that as a general rule the family of a Muslim woman who decides to marry a Palestinian Christian would not agree with such a decision (10 Nov. 1993). Israeli laws do not permit this type of marriage and the couple would have to go to Cyprus in order to have their mixed marriage performed (Ibid.). A Palestinian Muslim woman and her Palestinian Christian husband would likely difficulties and disapproval in their Palestinian social environment (Ibid.). Such a couple would probably loose their friends, and their families would certainly sever all relationship with them (Ibid.). However, the representative added that these would be exceptions in some families, although such a marriage would certainly provoke strong reactions, it would be accepted (Ibid.). The representative was not aware of any cases in which a Muslim woman was murdered for marrying a Palestinian Christian (Ibid.).

A Palestinian professor of sociology and anthropology at Haifa University in Israel stated that mixed marriages within the Palestinian community are an uncommon practice and are socially not accepted (10 Nov. 1993). This type of marriage is more likely to happen among the educated Palestinian élites (Ibid.). The professor was not aware of any statistics or research on this subject, a fact that suggests the sensitivity of the issue within the Palestinian community (Ibid.).

A Palestinian professor of sociology at Queen's University in Kingston reported that mixed marriages are not accepted practice in the Palestinian community in Israel (10 Nov. 1993). However, if the mixed couple is from highly educated families the marriage has a better chance of being accepted by the families (Ibid.). The sociologist added that a mixed marriage between a Muslim Palestinian woman and a Palestinian Christian man is less tolerated then a marriage between a Christian woman and a Muslim man (Ibid.). The professor is aware of cases where a Muslim woman in a mixed marriage was killed by her family, although he states that these cases have been decreasing in recent years (Ibid.).

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Haifa University, Sociology and Anthropology Department, Israel. 10 November 1993. Telephone interview with professor.

Palestine Human Rights Information Centre, Jerusalem. 10 November 1993. Telephone interview with representative.

Queen's University, Sociology Department, Kingston. 10 November 1993. Telephone interview with professor.

Society of St-Yves, Jerusalem. 10 November 1993. Telephone interview with representative.