Müzeyyen Adores Christmas: A German-Turkish Love Story

23 December 2010

When they founded their Christian-Muslim family, the Dreessens had no reference points. But they encountered plenty of resistance from relatives. At home, there was more heated discussion over how to bring up the children than on the subject of faith. These days, things are much more relaxed.

The prospects for this marriage were hardly favourable. When a friend, acting on behalf of Thomas Dreessen, officially sought permission from the Turkish father for his daughter’s hand, the father turned pale and the daughter made a hasty exit through the back door. She went to ground for a few weeks, staying at a girlfriend’s house. The family wanted to prevent her from entering into a marriage with a Christian German at all costs. When the couple told an Imam of their marriage plans, he warned: “Your children will go to hell.” Many of the couple’s friends, both German and Turkish, held a sceptical view of the relationship.

Müzeyyen Dreessen wants to take the sting out of the Imam’s words uttered all those years ago. By “hell”, she says, he was referring to the dilemma that can face children when their parents have two different religions. Her husband also defends the Imam: “His warning is justified. Some couples compete with each other for recognition of what they see is the correct religion. Or they do away with religion altogether. That doesn’t apply to us.” He looks over to his wife, who is standing at the stove. In any case, she says, the Imam said something else: “For every wall that the Prophet puts up, there is a door.” In other words: There is a solution.