Looking for the Modern Day Romeo and Juliet!


I am a final year student studying Journalism at the University of Kent and I am looking to film a documentary on what I like to call ‘The Modern Day Romeo & Juliet’ – a short film about young couples in inter-religious relationships and the challenges they face from their communities, friends or families.

I am looking for people willing to talk to me about their experience(s) so that I might investigate deep into the reasons how and why interfaith relationships can work, or conversely, don’t work.

As a young person in an ‘inter-religious’ relationship myself , I have experienced first hand and witnessed many others go through severe emotional stress often due to a families’ strong traditional or religious beliefs.

I am hoping that with your help, I can explore what lies in store for future generations… Will we have a different outlook on interfaith relationships in the future? And is the mix at university dissolving the segregation we currently still feel between religious communities in society? The new ‘class divide’ seems to be ‘cultural divide’.

If any member of your society could get in touch with me even just talk more about this issue, and the work you do – please get in touch. Your input would be invaluable to me.

My head professor is well known journalist and academic professor Tim Luckhurst, t.luckhurst@kent.ac.uk former editor of the Scotsman Newspaper and my project supervisor is Richard Pendry, academic and conflict reporter: r.pendry@kent.ac.uk.

Anyone wishing to input for this project is entitled to confidentiality/anonymity.

Kind regards

Sheryll Goddard

please reply dierectly to sheryll.goddard@gmail.com if you would like to help,

Can You Help?

Source: Can You Help?

Can You Help?

Dear friends and colleagues,

Rather unusually I am writing to you on behalf of my friend Shantelle Marcoux, who is one of my oldest and dearest friends.
Shantelle fell in love with a man, who was not who he claimed to be. Unfortunately she took cash out on her credit cards and loaned him money, believing him when he said he would pay it back.

Now this man is nowhere to be found, despite efforts from herself and the courts. Unfortunately the police aren’t much interested.

To make matters worse she has just found out her daughter Jayde is seriously ill.

Shantelle knows she made a mistake and refuses to declare bankruptcy. I have confirmed that she is working a full time job and now has three part time jobs to try and make the payments.

I have always known Shantelle as savvy, confident and with good personal boundaries. Hard working and independent, Shantelle is the last person to whom I believe this could happen. So, if this can happen to her, it can happen to anyone. I am certain she is not the first or only victim of this man’s fraud.

I know at this time of year there are many requests for our charity, compassion and mercy, but Shantelle and Jayde are real people, with real names and faces, under real pressure. And they really need your help.

If you can donate any amount at all to Shantelle at gofundme, it would go a long way to relieving the pressure off this family. https://www.gofundme.com/us7vfems

If you can’t donate, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers, or send them positive words of strength and encouragement.

Thank you for reading, and if you have any questions please feel free to email me,
kindest regards,
Wannette Tuinstra


Call for Research Participants

Who? I am hoping to come into contact with couples where one of the partners is of a Muslim-Arab background and the other is/was non-Muslim and/or non-Arab. I would also very much like to speak to couples who are both from a Muslim-Arab background but their relationship is/was still contested by their family due to racial or non-ethnic factors.
What? The topic of my research is to better understand couples in intercultural/interfaith relationships and how couples position themselves and their relationship within their community.
How and Where? The process of the research will involve informal and casual interviews with either both or one of the partners. Questions will centre on the history of the relationship, reaction of family, role of religion/culture in relationship and compromises reached (e.g. how children will be raised), family background and own history of growing up. The questions can be personal and the nature of interviews is intimate. This can progress as slowly as the participants feel comfortable with. Confidentiality is a top priority and pseudonyms will be used. The location of these interviews is to be discussed privately with the participants and can be arranged to what they are most comfortable with.
Why? The point of this study is to better appreciate the complexity of contested relationships within the Arab-Muslim community. Hopefully, this can contribute to current debates on the role of civil marriages within the Muslim community.
About the researcher: My name is Miriam Al-Hussona and I am an Anthropology research master’s student in Utrecht University. As an Arab woman from a Muslim background I chose to focus on the issue of relationships that are deemed unacceptable by families or society. This is something very close to my heart as I hope to one day join activists and advocates that also strongly believe in the freedom to choose. If you would like to participate please email me on m.al-hussona@students.uu.nl

Bigots beware – you have fewer places to hide in mixed-heritage Britain

Bigots beware – you have fewer places to hide in mixed-heritage Britain, says Hugh Muir for The Guardian. Shedding some light on the recent dynamics of racism and the fact that British society is no longer simply Black or White, Muir’s article is both enlightening and a warning.


Twins Sisters: A World Apart

The truly inspiring tale of two families who stepped up to the challenges and positives of their remarkable cross cultural life.

This is the  poignant true story of twin sisters, Mia and Alexandra born in China, and found as babies in a cardboard box in 2003.  Chinese officials denied they were twins and the girls were adopted by two separate sets of parents – one from California, the other from a remote fishing village in Norway.

It was a chance sighting at the orphanage that raised the families’ suspicions that their daughters were in fact,  twins.  They kept in touch until a  DNA test was performed which  proved their hunch had been right. Both girls grew up knowing they had an identical twin living on the other side of the world.

In the US, Mia is a typical all-American girl, with a bustling life filled with violin lessons, girl scouts and soccer. Alexandra grows up close to nature in the quietude of the breathtakingly beautiful but isolated village of Fresvik, Norway.

The is the documentary of Mia and Alexandra’s parallel journey. They keep in touch with letters, photographs, gifts  and phone calls. They meet in person in Norway when they are eight years old. Despite living completely different lives and speaking different languages, they are mirrors of each other.  The magical bond between Mia and Alexandra is matched by the extraordinary efforts of their parents and siblings to maintain this twin bond across their very different cultures and worlds.


Pregnant, About to Marry and then Arrested

For groom Neil McElwee and his bride Yanan Sun, their white wedding was to be their best day ever.

Chinese-born Yanan Sun – six months pregnant with their first baby – had splashed out £1,000 on a stunning dress. And the happy couple had invited over 70 guests to celebrate at a £6,000 hotel reception.

But their perfect day turned into a nightmare when moments before they were due to say ‘I do’, they were both arrested – after suspicions they were having a sham marriage.

Just one of the problems faced by cross cultural couples- some people think they are not ‘really’ together and the relationship is suspect and a sham…