April 15, five and a half
This is an important letter so please read it
very carefully. But before I say anything I want to send my
hopes and thoughts to your mother that she is now well or will
soon be healthy again.
Also say hello to your kind and wise father and
give each of your three sisters a kiss for me. Say hello to your
Khadija, I tried five times to call you on your
birthday but I could not reach you. I wanted to hear your voice
and surprise you and wish you a very happy birthday. Iím very
sorry that I failed. I hope you are well and not too worried
about the future because a good person like you I think will
find great happiness.
Now I wish to tell you the important things
which I mentioned. We must be as honest and true with these
issues as we possibly can be.
You will recall when I visited you that I liked
you and your family very much. I would like to make your life
better but, as you know, there are only small things which I can
do. I resolved to help you with your English because I felt sure
that would open to you many opportunities so I bought you two
dictionaries, sent you books and a tape recorder. If you can
write and speak good English then you can educate yourself and
do many things. Even if I never saw you again I wanted to help
you in this way.
Then I told you that I would help pay for your
trip to America so that you could visit. I did not know that
such an offer would do you no good because the requirements are
so strict to come here. Please Khadija believe me I did not know
that it is so hard for you to even visit San Francisco. It seems
so unfair. I donít want to disappoint you!
From the beginning you and your father suggested
that we marry. I liked to think of this because I liked you so
much and I thought that maybe this would be a way to also help
you. But since my return to San Francisco I have had many doubts
which have only multiplied with time. In the first place it
seemed to me to be your fatherís wish and not yours. Secondly I
felt I would be taking advantage of your circumstances and third
I got to feel that when you came here a marriage with me would
never work because I am so much older. Also I felt you would
expect too much of me and America and not be happy. But Khadija,
in America we become friends with people we like and marry
because of love. We are very against forming a marriage on
anything else. We especially feel that the choice must be
completely our own. In Morocco they do things differently.
Despite all these problems I still wanted to
consider marrying you because I like you so much and it seemed
like a nice thought to me.
But when I returned to San Francisco every
person I mentioned a possible marriage to you with thought it
was a bad idea. An Algerian man said that your family is trying
to trap me. A woman told me you will only wait until you are an
American citizen then discard me like trash. Another man said,
ďDo not trust them!Ē
So Khadija, after these last six months Iíve come
to a decision. If you wish to marry me to escape Morocco I
cannot help you. If you wish to marry me only because it is your
fatherís wish, that is ok, that is good for Morocco but not for
America. You can only get married if it is your desire, your
wish and it is not only to become an American citizen.
The biggest trouble preventing me from marriage
is that your background is Islam and mine is Christian.
I am happy with my beliefs, as you are happy
with yours. If you can accept this difference and we can be
married by American civil law, rather then either your religion
or mine; but as equals in a bridge that is half way between our
ancient traditions. If you feel in your heart that you want to
marry me, not from force or obligation, if you will accept the
task of working very hard with me to achieve a happy life
togetherÖbut Khadija if we can be married by American law not
Moroccan requirements then I now will agree to be your husband.
For life and for real. I offer myself to you.
Will you accept these conditions and join me? I
know this is not all that you wish because you prefer that I
become entirely Muslim. Well with time you can show me all the
wisdom of Islam and share the wealth of your mind and
experience. I will share the wisdom of the West.
If you can agree then I will marry you and
promise to do all I can to make your life happy and also
I know they direct you to marry an Islamic man
but for now this is all I can do. It is not a perfect world and
peace and happiness is possible by compromise. If we are to
spend our lives together we must be able to make a bridge
between our two worlds.
Please think of what Iíve said and only accept
me and accept my offer of marriage if you want it and are
happy with what I can offer. Do not have regrets. Do not form
any bitterness. I want to try to be with you and bring you here
and it is for you to decide.
If you agree, if this is your wish then I will
begin the paperwork here in San Francisco. It will be hard and
take a long time. Basically we will be married here but you will
be absent. Then as legal American man and wife I can travel to
Morocco where we can celebrate our marriage in Morocco with your
friends and family. It will only be a celebration not a Moroccan
marriage. Then it will take more time to get a Visa so you can
travel back here to San Francisco with me. Of course if your
mother is still ill then travel may not be possible. Maybe with
your mother ill you cannot accept my offer. Please seek her
advice and consent. And your fine sisters and brother and of
course your father. Then if you want it from the roots of your
heart please write me soon and tell me!