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Love is color blind, and conquers all — in true Valentine’s Day fashion

Brooklyn Daily
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Every day is Valentine’s Day for Brooklyn sweethearts Katherine and Ali Khatari.

The Bay Ridge couple — she’s a former Irish Catholic from Flatlands, he’s a Muslim-American from Yemen — are living proof that love is color blind, and if nurtured properly can grow into an oak.

The Khataris have been married for 37 years and have six children — the fruits of a sweet union many predicted wouldn’t last: Anisa and Zachary are Board of Elections employees, Samira is a stay-home mom, Alia is an Administration of Children’s Services’ worker, Ali is an after-school teacher, and Yahya is a probie fireman, following proudly in the footsteps of his legendary great-uncle, Jack Pritchard — “the most decorated firefighter in FDNY history” and star of History Channel’s “Hardcore Heroes.”

Katherine and Ali are grandparents five times over — “number six is coming” — but they still dig each other like a pair of love-struck teens.

“My husband is my breath,” says Katherine, 53, an award-winning civic activist and a community liaison for the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.

“My wife is my sweetheart,” returns Ali, 73, a retired business owner, before his missus quips mischievously, “I thought he was gonna say I’m his pain in the a--!”

The pair met when Katherine lived above Ali’s family candy store. They married in 1979, in a simple Muslim ceremony their families did not attend.

“It was just me and my husband, and a friend of his,” she says. “It was a lonely day.”

The couple made it legal in 1986, after a relative told Ali that Katherine’s family would get to decide her final resting place if she died.

“I was very upset,” he says. “I told my wife we need to get married in a civil ceremony, so we get to be together forever.”

Katherine rewarded her hubby’s devotion by converting to Islam. She was renamed “Warda” (Arabic for rose), although Ali still calls her Kathy.

Nearly 40 years later, the couple cannot understand the prejudice sceptics continue to heap on their everlasting love.

“We don’t see ourselves as anything other than two human beings who love each other,” they say. “Not race, not religion, but as a man and a women.”

The Khataris continue to have the last laugh: They will celebrate Valentine’s Day on Sunday — as they do every holiday — with the big, loving family their awesome alliance has created.

“We’re going to have a nice roast beef dinner,” says Katherine. “There’ll be a huge box of chocolates, and about 15 smaller boxes for the grandkids and their moms.”

The sumptuous shindig will be an eloquent endorsement of their marriage made in heaven.

Follow me on Twitter @BritShavana

Read Shavana Abruzzo's column every Friday on BrooklynDaily.com. E-mail here at sabruzzo@cnglocal.com.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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