A Visually Impaired British Woman Married To An Iranian Shares Her Personal Experience

See article below for info
on this picture.

We are all challenged in some way. Marriage can definitely be a challenge. Especially when it happens between a man and a woman of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds. Roshni is a British sister who would like to share her personal experience of being visually impaired and how it affected the marriage process to her Iranian husband. As I am hearing impaired, I can identify with her having a disability, being wary of living in a country with limited resources for the deaf and the loss of independence on a larger scale than a woman who can hear without difficulties. 

I would like to say to all readers to never underestimate your contributions to FHWS, there is a good chance your story can help at least ONE person and believe it or not, I consider that an achievement.  I hope that someone out there can benefit from Roshni’s story. Thank you Roshni, Tara Umm Omar

Salaamun Alaykum Tara, insha’Allah this note finds you well. My apologies with adding to the multiple Emails I know you will have. I wanted to leave this as a comment on your blog, however I am visually impaired, so the picture verification system doesn’t work for me and I thought I’d email instead. Can I first say how much I enjoy reading your blog. I do not have any direct links to Saudi myself: I am a revert Muslim female living in the UK, however I am married to an Iranian, and there are lots of cross over issues re: marriage, language, culture, etc. that I can relate to on your blog. You present an interesting balance, showing positive and negative equally, and I particularly enjoy the posts you write about your own marriage and experiences. I feel very honoured to have read them from you.

To the issue in question, I wondered if my experience would be helpful to any of your readers: I fear it might not help, but you never know! As I said, I am a UK National, married to an Iranian and currently sorting out the logistics of living together! When my husband and I first started to study the Iranian marriage process in Iran, it seemed utterly impossible to us! We simply couldn’t see a way that we could meet the many demands that they had.

For starters, they wanted my father’s permission which, given that he’s a non-Muslim and very
against me and my faith, I’d never get! They also wanted blood tests and such: and because I am disabled, we feared they may use elements of these tests to deny us the permission. The process, from beginning
to end, would have required us to stay in Iran for around 3 months or so, which due to work commitments in other countries, neither of us were able to do! So, we traveled to Iran and performed an Islamic marriage (minus the official registration). I came back to the UK and then stated my case before a barrister here. My argument was 2-fold: Firstly, the marriage stipulations in Iran affected me disproportionately as a disabled woman and so I could not adhere to their process in its entirety. Secondly, I should either be given the
right to apply for a spousal visa for my husband to come to the UK with the document I provided, or at the very least, be granted a fiancée visa for him to come here and register our marriage here.

While all this debate was going on, I became a victim of the credit crunch and lost my job! This was horrific because, although masha’Allah my husband was able to support me financially, if I was not earning on my own, I could not sponsor him to come here. We discussed living in Iran, however, we both felt that the facilities there are not yet at the level that would enable me to function as an independent professional
woman with my visual impairment, as I can do here in the UK, so that was out for us.

After finding your blog, I decided to search for Iranian men married to foreign women, to see how they had done it. I couldn’t find any wonderful blogs like yours sadly, however, I did find a few sisters who guided me as to how they had done things. The majority opinion was that the couple had traveled to a neutral country (a middle country that both could access easily) and performed a civil marriage over there. With this document, they were able to approach the respective authorities in both countries and apply for residency, wherever they were choosing to live. In my case, my husband and I went to Georgia for a week, registered our marriage,
and the UK accepted that piece of paper. We are currently in the process of granting my husband “leave to remain”. When he arrives, we will then approach the Iranian Embassy in London and apply for my nationality.

Foreign women do better here in that they are entitled to their husband’s nationality, as are their children. Even if the marriage ends, the woman is not bound to giving up her Iranian citizenship if she does not want to.

I know that marriage between a Saudi and an Iranian may be a lot more complicated given the masses of red tape in both countries, but I thought I’d share what we did as it was relatively low-budget and it
may work for some people, in certain circumstances, insha’Allah.

Once again, keep up the good work sister. Though I don’t comment on the blog, I read it every day and love what you are doing. May Allah (SWT) reward you and your family for all that you do to support and educate others around the world aameen.

With salaams and duas,
Roshni

Photo Credit: Firouzan Films

“Marriage, Iranian Style” Review
By Kevin Thomas for Los Angeles Times
4 August 2006

“Marriage, Iranian Style” is a most effective comedy, full of warmth and affection, that at the same time is remarkably daring, considering the tenseness of U.S.-Iranian relations. It is old-fashioned entertainment, rich in familiar comical types, lush settings and locales, yet for all its humor has a timely subtext tinged with melancholy over East-West relations.

Shireen Sarpoulaki (Shila Khodadad) is the highly sheltered daughter of a wealthy carpet dealer (Dariush Arjmand) of a fine old Tehran family steeped in tradition. Arjmand’s Hajj Ebrahim is a bearded bear of a man with a deep, booming voice and an authoritarian manner. His devoted wife, Akram (Fatemeh Goudarzi), has, with much deft cajoling and the help of her brother Saied (Saied Kangarini), persuaded him to allow Shireen to take a job at Saied’s large travel agency. In walks David (Daniel Holmes), an American information technologist with a major U.S. firm, who takes one look at Shireen and is transfixed. Saied arranges a tour for David and his colleagues and selects his niece to serve as a guide because of her fluency in English. Her aghast father calls her on her cell phone almost hourly and even assigns his son to spy on her. But Shireen is attracted to David, an unassuming man who has become increasingly drawn to art rather than science and has developed a special interest in Persian culture.

In walks David (Daniel Holmes), an American information technologist with a major U.S. firm, who takes one look at Shireen and is transfixed. Saied arranges a tour for David and his colleagues and selects his niece to serve as a guide because of her fluency in English. Her aghast father calls her on her cell phone almost hourly and even assigns his son to spy on her. But Shireen is attracted to David, an unassuming man who has become increasingly drawn to art rather than science and has developed a special interest in Persian culture.

At first director Hassan Fathi and writer Minou Farshchi poke gentle fun at Hajj Ebrahim’s overprotectiveness of his daughter and then do the same with his extreme paranoia toward David. “Marriage, Iranian Style” finds humor in just about every situation, yet in doing so reveals the dicey status of women in Iran, who live lives so subservient to men they become consumed with both pleasing them and outmaneuvering them. And for all its amusing exaggeration, Hajj Ebrahim’s paranoia becomes a commentary on the gravity of the deep distrust between the U.S. and Iran. The filmmakers, however, do not forget they’re making a comedy, and the film’s serious undertow sets off the absurdity of so much of human behavior and belief.

Not surprisingly, Holmes is not an American but a Canadian. He is not a professional actor but has lived his role, having come to Iran, fallen in love with an Iranian woman and converted to Islam. Also not surprisingly, “Marriage, Iranian Style” was initially banned in Iran and reportedly was released only when Holmes’ role was greatly reduced, which can only have had a deleterious effect on the film and its conciliatory spirit.

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Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.

5 thoughts on “A Visually Impaired British Woman Married To An Iranian Shares Her Personal Experience”

  1. >Over the centuries man has draws invisible line and borders to their liking and at times justify their mean.Sometime it amused me on how just one piece of paper will dictate all the outcome of the wellbeing, injustice nor fairness and the like. And we call ourself a democratic society while at times turn blind eyes on the suffering and the humanitarians cost in the process..The Google's Captcha verification system would be very problematic tho', as some type doesn't cater for your need. Perhaps the owners of this blog could turn it off(if she not getting much Spam) for a while and see how it goes.

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  2. >I'm aware that she can email you but then if she can do it in a normal way it's much better for her.Anyway, I would suggest,for those whose having some difficulties reading those blur's cryptic images to use the magnifying/zooming function in their browser or perhaps the audio help instead(but the Google's audio suck big time I guess). I would suggest to opt for the Opera(I might be bias 'ere but then, many of the new functions in the other browsers just a copies from Opera anyway and a bit clumsy)for the better performance.Anyway don't you worry on not getting "all word correct",a little error still do the trick. Just give your best shot.

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  3. >I am so happy that this precious lady could finally register her marriage. She is totally right, holding a UK nationality gives a woman more rights than having an Iranian passport as I do. Although I'm so proud of being Persian with my deep and rich culture, I totally stand against what the government is doing to people. I'm sorry for the bad experience of my British sister and pray that God always bless her and make her the happiest woman.

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  4. >It is a shame that so much stock is put into passports and how some are more valuable than others due to the enormous amount of rights the person gets. But that is the way of the world today.

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