In Season 5 of Black Love, we get a chance to learn about the ways in which love can transcend so many obstacles, including differences in faith and religion. Ephraim and Renece, both of different faiths, spoke about what it has been like embarking on the journey of an interfaith marriage. Renece even talked about different stereotypes that friends, early in her relationship, thought would impact her with having a Muslim husband including having to cover from head to toe or walk paces behind her husband. But the more we learn about each other and the dynamics of how faith can bring us together, no matter what it’s called, the more we understand that really all we need is love at its core.
Black Love spoke with Cameasha Alao, about her journey as a Christian who’s husband, Yusef, is Muslim. The two of them have been together for a total of 6 years and married for 4.
Black Love: What made you take the step to marry although you practice differently?
Cameasha: Initially I was not going to consider a serious relationship with him let alone think about him being my husband. When we talked about religion during the time we dated, he was more open to the idea of us being together than I was due to us not having the same faith. He is a Muslim that also went to church as a child. His father was a religious speaker and would even be invited to churches to speak so my husband was exposed to more than I had ever been. I believe what ultimately made me go for it was how respectful my husband was to my faith. He even went to church with me when we dated and that helped me be more comfortable with being married to him. I went for it even though I was afraid of what my family would think. So I have just now in the 4 years we’ve been married even decided to tell them.
BL: Are there any conflicts related to your religion that you all have encountered in your marriage? With family? With holidays?
C: There is subtle conflict. I would not say [there is] enough that we were ever upset or even argued about. Our main issue is more of interpretation of scripture and how it is taught. My family did not know my husband was Muslim until this year (2021). I didn’t tell them because I guess I didn’t want to be judged. I left the church I grew up in because I do not agree with the way people can be made to feel by people who believe they are more saved. My husband did not have those same issues. When I met his mother she was even willing to go to church with me and encouraged me to take our daughter with me. Holidays are pretty normal, believe it or not. We even celebrate Christmas together.
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BL: What is the beauty of sharing different faiths?
C: The beauty for me has been that I have been able to challenge what I had been taught without feeling as if I needed to convert to Islam. I also have been able to get rid of the fear I had of being judged by what people “think” about what makes people the perfect match.
BL: What has it been like raising a child with parents of different faiths?
C: I take our 2-year-old, Eniola, to church with me because I attend more frequently. Also my husband has said for him it does not matter what his daughter choses as her faith “serve God ” and he is satisfied. So honestly I am very lucky. I have found Islam is more like Christianity than I thought so our values are actually very similar.
BL: What tips would you give to someone who may be dating someone of a different faith or just starting their marriage journey?
C: Be respectful! There is no way someone will consider what you believe if they feel judged or be made to feel bad for their belief. Also understand that you can learn some very important lessons and still have your belief. I knew when I married my husband I would have to leave the things I thought I knew behind and consider those things differently. Same with my husband, he has said he struggled initially but has at the very least been able to find peace with it. He has never been discouraging and it caused me to be more open. I respect him as well and have always welcomed his thoughts or opinions on things with our family and our faith.
Watch the new season of Black Love on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) every Friday at 10/9c. Seasons 1-4 of Black Love and the official after show, After Love are available on the free Black Love+ App for Android and iOS, as well as YouTube.