An American soldier falling in love with a Middle-Eastern woman


Active Member
Nov 9, 2021
There's a part in my story I'm having trouble deciding. It's a fictional story, involving characters that inherited supernatural powers and all sorts of natural gifts, such as this American spec ops mercenary who's sent on a special mission set modern-day on a secret mission in the Middle East. He ends up meeting and bonding with a female Middle-Eastern spec ops soldier, who also gifted with supernatural powers. They eventually have a son together, who eventually when grown up will serve on missions like his mother and father, inherting their natural gifts.

To avoid controversy over religious beliefs, the American soldier does not come from a religious background as his family of generations didn't practice any major religions as each family member who constantly served in the military in wars and other conflicts. If anything the American soldier's ancestry past would most likely have followed Christianity or had been apart of the Roman catholic church but religion is not a priority to this American soldier. So I'm wondering considering if this Middle-Eastern woman follows Islam will it cause controversy if they raise a child together by the audiences reactions if the American soldier is not a Muslim and the fact he comes from an American/British/Russian Caucasian background and she is of Arabic descent, would this make it an issue of them having a child together?

I've also considered what nationality she could be from like Iranian, Kurdish-Iraqi, Lebanese or Afghan to cause less controversy. I know Lebanon has a more diverse percentage of other religions including Christainty, I just want to know if her being a Muslim and being Arab is going to cause problems with her being in a relationship and having a child with a non Muslim Caucasian man. I could make her non religious, but I feel that might be disrespectful to her culture, which is known for having certain religious beliefs.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you
I think that if she is Lebanese it might work out better as there are many Christan's there too. Her non-religious American would blend in better and might pick-up on the religious cultures if that is where you have them live.

Other than that, it might depend on where they live. Here, we have many Muslims but you wouldn't know because they dress like everyone else, on the most part that is, and blend in.

Either way, there would be a good chance that your Female MC is going to lose her ties with her family. You could use that for a plot twist maybe?
To clarify, are you trying to avoid causing offense to a Muslim audience? Of course in a group comprising a billion + people you will have every kind of conceivable opinion and mindset, including varying strictness or relaxation regarding interreligious marriage, and a sizable portion will take issue with something. The continual disastrous American interventions in the middle east are likely to be the first sticking point though. They are widely seen as just the recent manifestation of continually destructive European machinations in the region. So the first question is, what is an American spec ops mercenary doing there? Unlikely anything good.

I question your use of the term Caucasian as it is a relic of an old racialist classification system long discredited. That said, even under the terms of this old system, most inhabitants of the middle east were classified as Caucasians! Arabs, Kurds, Iranians, many Afghans, even people of the Horn of Africa. In my view the only really legitimate application of the term Caucasian would be to the peoples of the Caucasus, which include Chechens, Circassians, Ingush, and other peoples of Islamic tradition.

So let's forget about race and put the old calipers away. The main problems are historical/cultural/political.

As for the possibility of the woman being a lapsed, nominal, or irreligious person of Islamic background, the fact is that such people exist. Sometimes they are quite public about it. I don't know why it's disrespectful to acknowledge that.
My experience as a teacher in inner city schools since 2005 is that muslim students date each other as well as non-muslim students. Even quite orthodox ones.

Also my ex was muslim. I am not a Christian, and I'm a gay man as was he (obviously) so there was added intersectionality in that scenario but we got through it fine.

The heart wants what the heart wants.
I have no problem with the idea of a white American Soldier having a kid with an Arab Middle-Eastern Muslin Woman and them raising him together. Were this story, people who did have a problem with that would categorically not be my audience.

I cannot offer much advice on the exact logistics on this, but googling "American soldier marries Afghan woman" (or Iraqi woman, etc.etc.) might be a start. There's certainly stories of it happening out there, and they'll give you better advice on where to start thinking about the situation than I ever could.
How to avoid controversy is maybe not the right question. Plenty of good writing is controversial, which is ok if that's what the author intends. But unintended controversy is easy to step into if you're writing about something don't understand well. That's also a recipe for not great writing.
So a better question might be, why do you want to write a character who comes from a certain culture? Do you feel a connection or interest in that culture? Do you know real people from that culture? I think it's ok for writers to use elements and characters from cultures that they don't come from, but it should be done with respect, and with a reason behind why it's important to the story. Once you start following those questions, maybe you'll find this character doesn't need to be from that background after all, or maybe you'll discover details that can make her a much more nuanced and effective character.
I know plenty of European-Middle Eastern couples. A perfectly modern uncontroversial arrangement, as with any other mixed nationality or mixed religion partnership, unless you want it to be.
I agree. It's not a problem from the mainstream American point of view. But as has been said upthread. Any thing set for mass audiences will find people who will not be happy. But --- that doesn't mean that they won't be interested. I don't know enough about mainstream Islam to say if the same thing would be true in that context.
Well, right off the bat, if you have supernatural powered people, you'll offend some Christians as well as some Muslims, even before your characters meet.

But from a writing perspective, why is it important to have the female be native to the Middle East at all? She could be Muslim and be Chinese. Or American. Or whatever. What is it about the story requires her to be a local? Why not have the man be local? Or both be from elsewhere? If feels like you've chosen religious backgrounds first, and then are trying to figure out the story.

Two military individuals are both super-powered. They go on assignment somewhere. They meet and fall in love. Then what? In the end, do they save the world? Save each other? What's the story?

Once that is sorted, then you'll have a clearer notion about what role religious background (or ethnic or national or whatever background) plays.