For one doctor at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, a second marriage involved an exchange of much more than vows and wedding bands.
Dr. Jane Colmer-Hamood earned a Ph.D. in medical microbiology, married, raised three children, divorced and - at the age of 50 years old - after meeting her soon-to-be second husband, converted to Islam.
Hoping to dispel some of the common misconceptions many Americans may have about being a woman of the Islamic faith, Tech's Muslim Student Organization gave Colmer-Hamood an opportunity to tell her story Wednesday evening in the Human Sciences building.
"You have to be very careful when you look at things that appear to be great or that seem to be - somehow assuming that a woman is less - it may not have anything to do with the religion," she said, "and everything to do with the culture that people have been raised in."
Growing up to become a woman in a strict Christian Science household gave the Kansas City native few breaks, Colmer-Hamood said.
Disregarding his daughter's No. 1 position in her high school class and nearly a perfect GPA upon graduation from college, her father refused to endorse her desire to get an education and start a career.
"My father, to his dying day, thought the best accomplishment I did with my life was produce three children," Colmer-Hamood said. "That, in his mind, was what I was supposed to do, and I was supposed to be thrilled-to-death that I produced those children."
Within the constructs of her father's Christian beliefs, she said, because they give birth, and that is their primary duty in life, women existed on a level lower than that of men.
While the Quran teaches that there is a difference between men and women, Colmer-Hamood said, it establishes a foundation of equality between Muslim couples.
"I have been in many places many times within my own country where that doesn't occur," she said.
After a "family emergency" indirectly led to Colmer-Hamood's divorce from her first husband, she said she began feeling empty and wanted to find fulfillment.
The Muslim faith piqued her interest, she said, and she began to see Abdul Hamood, a devoted Muslim who was happy to introduce her to his beliefs when she asked.
After learning more and more about the teachings of the Quran, Colmer-Hamood said, she began to see that the mainstream representation of Islam was a far cry from the reality, especially when it came to the women who practiced that faith. (MORE)