This issue is typically of interest for people who were raised in America and have parents who were immigrants. Their different upbringings brought upon different ideologies on cultures and identity. An immigrant parent usually puts more emphasis on marrying someone who can help to preserve the ethnic culture. Although I can see the importance of preserving culture, there are also many other factors that need to be taken into consideration for a happy and successful marriage. The children who were raised in the U.S. may feel more comfortable marrying someone who has also been raised in the U.S like themselves and whom they can feel some sort of connection with. That someone could very likely be from a different racial or ethnic background.
Consider this hypothetical situation: A Muslim girl from Pakistan was born and raised in the United States. Her parents want her to marry another Pakistani who was also born and raised in the U.S. Although it’s possible that this marriage can turn out well, the problem actually lies in the fact that many parents refuse to even consider other races as potential options. Doing so can neglect some very good men with whom the girl may be much more compatible with. Marriage is a lifelong commitment and therefore it is highly important to seek out the right partner.
There is also the major issue of stereotyping. People are stereotyped not only based on where they are from, but also on what partof the country they are from. We all know it happens in Muslim communities and it is an issue that interferes with simple Islamic beliefs. In his last sermon, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said “An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.” Considering these wise words from the Prophet (PBUH), we can conclude that marriage is ultimately not based on where the person is from, but rather the nature of the person; both, morally and religiously.
If we continue to avoid the topic of interracial marriage, then we allow for racism to continue as well. Maybe some parents deny interracial marriages over concerns of cultural preservation rather than race, but this argument can also serve as a mask for racism.
Many Muslims still have to learn to be accepting of other races and cultures, not only for moral reasons, but more importantly for the sake of Allah (SWT). He has told us over and over again that not one person is superior to another. If we have no right to judge other humans at all, then we certainly have no right to be passing judgment on whole races or cultures. Unfortunately, black people are subject to racism more often than others, even by Muslims. We ought to keep in mind that whenever someone insults a black person, he or she could be inadvertently insulting some extremely notable Black Muslim figures as well, such as Bilal Habshi (RA) who was a Black Muslim, a companion of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and the first muezzin.
All of this comes down to the simple matter of putting religion over cultural values and beliefs. Without a doubt, this is something that needs to be improved in many Muslim communities, including our own. If we believe in the teachings of Islam and would like to teach our children about the same values, then we must start embodying them, even the ones that may require us to change ourselves. We cannot continue to give ethnic background half as much importance as we normally do.