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I felt compelled to write after reading Norlinda's convoluted arguments in her letter, If you love your partner, you'll convert .

She said: "Marriage is solely for couples totally in love with each other. If you are not willing to convert to your spouses' religion, then you do not love that person enough. As for being a hypocrite and converting, you can cheat everyone but not God. You will answer for it one day."

I'll say instead - if you really love your partner, you will never force, much less persuade, your partner to do something he or she is not comfortable to do.

I am a Muslim from Pakistan. I have a Malaysian girlfriend who is Christian. We have built a wonderful relationship that transcends everything - even time, space, race and religion.

We have discussed marriage and she had told me that she is not willing to convert to Islam. She was very frank and honest with me (I appreciate that as it is the basis for a good and lasting relationship). She told me that she did not believe in Islam, though as a Christian she believed in one God.

But though disbelieving, she had never ridiculed Islam, nor have I criticised Christianity. Our discussions are always open and frank, and always, we were more self-reflecting on our own religion, than on the other. This I felt, had bridged the gap between her and me, and our understanding of each other's culture and religion.

I can honestly say that we truly love one another, but as there is no compulsion in Islam, I have agreed to marry her even though she is a Christian. She is also willing to accept me as a Muslim, and our children, will have the freedom to choose, though she said, she does not mind if we were to guide them to be Muslims. Such respect for me and my religion!

There are sacrifices to be made definitely, because we would have to live in a different country. But I will not sacrifice my love or lose a valuable relationship just for the sake of religion or laws made by man.

Norlinda's arguments are not only flawed but selfish. Why should only one partner prove her or his love and not the other? The non-Muslim partner can also say, "if you love me, then convert to my religion". If such arguments go on, it will never end.

Islam is a beautiful and peaceful religion, and we do not preach by compelling others to believe in us but with good, kind and loving examples. But the way Malaysians deal or treat Islam, the religion has now acquired a bad name. No wonder I hear my Malaysian girlfriend and her friends say "there is no human rights in Islam".

This is not the fault of the people who say these, but the authorities and the Muslims who make it a point to compel others to believe in their religion.

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