Prince May Defuse Row over Interfaith Marriage

November 6, 2006

Author: Rauf Klasra

Source: The International News

LONDON: One unusual meeting that Prince Charles is to have during his visit to Pakistan is with Bishop Alexander John Malik who, like a traditional loving father from the East, yielded to the wishes of his daughter Nadia to let her marry a Muslim of her own choice in a church despite opposition from followers of his faith.

The newly wedded couple has already left Pakistan after receiving threats from different quarters, both Muslims and Christians. Nadia, one of Pakistan’s most glamorous models, and her husband Dr Daniyal married in August in an opulent Lahore cathedral wedding led by her father Bishop John Malik, and attended, among others, by the elite of the film and fashion world of the country. Like a traditional love story in Eastern culture, a beautiful Christian girl and a handsome Muslim boy had fallen in love five years back. But both had to fight a long battle for all these years to convince their respective parents to agree to this inter-faith marriage which is quite unusual in Pakistan.

Rival bishops have called for Malik’s resignation and claimed that he has betrayed his flock. On the other hand, leading Muslim clerics are being quoted as saying that the marriage ceremony of the girl in a church led by her father Bishop John Malik himself is an insult despite the fact that Nadia had converted to Islam, and that her Muslim husband Dr Daniyal was wrong while agreeing to receive a Christian blessing.

Prince Charles is likely to extend moral support to Bishop Alexander John Malik for his unusual act of giving preference to his daughter’ wishes to marry a Muslim of her choice, ignoring the pressure of his Christian fellows.

A media report published here suggests that the Prince of Wales in his trip to Pakistan will support President Musharraf’s policy of “enlightened moderation”, and encourage a better understanding between the country’s Muslim majority and its Christian minority. Thus he will be trying to end a row between the followers of two faiths in Pakistan, triggered by the unusual marriage.

Prince Charles’s itinerary will include a meeting with Alexander John Malik, who is caught in the crossfire between leading members of his own flock and Islamic fundamentalists over the marriage of his daughter Nadia to the son of a prominent Muslim family. The Prince of Wales will encourage a better understanding between the country’s Muslim majority and its beleaguered Christian minority.