Interfaith Marriages

The Tâlesh Solution

in Anthropology of the Middle East
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  • 1 Aix-Marseille University
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The Tâlesh population is divided between Twelver Shi'a and Shafi'ite Sunnis. Here, the relations between the two 'communities' are harmonious and interfaith marriage is frequent. Family descent in Tâlesh is patrilineal (property, name and social status are transmitted along paternal lines) but the transmission of religious affiliation differs from that of property and social status and is governed, in the words of Meyer Fortes, by 'complementary descent': boys will adopt the religious affiliation of the father and girls that of the mother. So confessional affiliation is bilinear. However, there are exceptions that are as often linked to specific context as they may be to personal 'choice'.


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