DEAR HARRIETTE: My family is Christian, and my college-age daughter just told us that her boyfriend is Muslim. She is nervous to bring him home because my husband has made it clear to her that he thinks Muslims are dangerous.
My daughter has tried to tell us about this young man. When I listen to her, he sounds pretty great to me. He treats her nicely, and she seems to be happy. I definitely want to meet him. I think the worst thing would be to ban him from our home. That will only make her want to commit to him more immediately. How can I get my husband to have an open mind about this young man? I think we should trust our daughter more. -- Open Your Mind, San Jose, California
DEAR OPEN YOUR MIND: Talk to your husband about your daughter and his concerns about the boyfriend’s religion. Admit that you didn’t expect your daughter to have a Muslim boyfriend, but you want to give her the benefit of the doubt that she has chosen someone who genuinely loves and respects her. Point out that while reports in the news sometimes suggest that certain Muslims are dangerous -- terrorists, even -- this cannot be true about all of them, just like there are Christians who have done bad things over the generations, but that doesn’t mean that every Christian is trying to conquer the world, for example.
Suggest that the two of you welcome the young man into your home so that you can meet him and talk to him. Getting to know the person your daughter loves is smart, even if you are skeptical. If he is standing in front of you, there is your opportunity to ask every question you can think of. Don’t miss out on this information-gathering moment because of any stereotypical views you may have about his religion. Get first-hand knowledge of who he is instead.