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The publication of the document, which will receive a high-profile launch at Westminster Abbey today, is significant because those supporting it include imams from the more orthodox Islamic schools of thought and evangelical Christians.
Among those who have signed up to the document include Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, a prominent Leicester-based imam from the conservative Deobandi school, the Right Rev Paul Hendricks, associate bishop of Southwark Catholic Archdiocese, and Amra Bone, one of the only women in the country to sit in a Sharia court.
However, increasing numbers of Catholics are marrying Jews, Muslims and adherents of other religions (the canonical term here is “disparity of cult,” but “interfaith” or “interreligious” marriage are more user-friendly terms).
Catholic-Jewish couples, because of their greater number and longer history in American society, have a growing list of resources, including books, Web sites and support groups like the national Dovetail Institute and the Chicago-based Jewish Catholic Couples Group.
Although marrying between faiths is entirely legal in Britain, couples often face resistance and hostility, both from family members and religious leaders.When it comes to intermarriage, Muslims are becoming the new Jews.About a century ago, when hundreds of thousands of Jews were immigrating to the United States, only about 1 percent, by some estimates, married non-Jews.Estimating the number of people in mixed-faith marriages is difficult.The 2001 census suggests 21,000 but demographers believe the figure is considerably higher.
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The document, called When Two Faiths Meet, is the product of months of painstaking negotiations between Christian and Muslim leaders and emphasises the need for tolerance and acceptance of mixed-faith marriages.