Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Modern Romeo and Juliet

In the world we know, the story of two neighbors with ethnic differences falling in love might be the subject of a romantic comedy.  In Afghanistan, it's the equivalent of Romeo and Juliet falling in loveworse, even, for Juliet's family never felt compelled to kill her to protect their family's honor.  This is the compelling, true story told in Rod Nordland's The Lovers.

Zakia and Mohammad Ali grew up as neighbors, but differing backgrounds forbade contact.  Eschewing custom, they fell in love, married, and fled both the authorities and Zakia's vengeful family.  Currently, they live in hiding in Afghanistan, and hope to one day leave the country with their baby daughter.

Rod Nordland, who initially wrote a New York Times article about the pair, chronicles the story of their forbidden love while offering insight into the role women's rights (or lack thereof) and sectarian differences play in Afghan culture.

You can meet Zakia and Mohammad, along with their daughter, in the video below.

For further reading, please take a look at our Islamic Studies Catalog.


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