For those like myself who choose to limit their selection, the possibilities exponentially decrease. I am a Nigerian-American Muslim, and now that I am older and more serious about settling down, I have restricted myself to only dating other Muslims. Currently, there are over one billion Muslims worldwide; however, the numbers are far lower in the U. From the way the American conservative media depicts our impending takeover with sharia law, one would think that we were much more numerous.
The same questions that a Joe Schmoe on Coffee Meets Bagel has to navigate are very similar to the ones Muslims ask themselves when looking for a partner. Questions of chemistry, physical attraction, intellectual compatibility, and life goals are all present. Unfortunately, a lot of the similar racial trends seen on various dating apps are also present.
Except within the Muslim-American community, parents play a much larger role in mitigating potential interracial relationships, which in turn ends up shaping the racial hierarchy that prevails in these dating trends. Recently, a good friend from college tried setting me up with someone who she thought I would hit it off with. She told me her friend was South Asian, smart, woke, and an all-around awesome person. About three days went by and I did not hear anything.
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Although she assured me not to worry, as the girl was probably still thinking about it, I already started losing interest. A few days later, I get a text from my friend asking if we could talk on phone so that she could update me on the situation with her friend. She continued to say that the reason for the hold-up was that the girl was trying to talk to her parents first. Nevertheless, this scenario happens too often within our community. The Muslim American community is extremely diverse by the numbers. Taking into account both native and foreign born Muslims, the Pew study suggests that South Asians and Arabs together make up the majority of the Muslims in America, followed by a sizable number of Black Muslims, and the rest comprising a hodge podge of various other Muslim nations as mentioned above.
Despite the inherent diversity within the Muslim American community, these community social spaces tend to remain segregated. And so, as the genders mixed, dating relationships also took root in some societies. This, he says, further facilitated the imitation of Western relationships. Changing ideas about modernity, widespread urbanization and the West's cultural hegemony influenced something as intimate and personal as relationships, Arian says. But the most influential factor is globalization. These "shared experiences," as he calls them, have given birth to third-culture kids.
These multicultural generations are growing up with a "very different moral compass that is rooted in a number of influences; and not just the local, but the global as well," Arian says. Before social media and the prevalence of pop culture, it was a lot easier to enforce whatever ideologies you wanted your child to follow.
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But as globalization increased, this changed. Young people became increasingly exposed to the rest of the world. Today, their ideologies and values no longer find a basis in what their priest or imam preaches but in what social media and pop culture influencers might be saying and doing. Dating apps and websites that cater to young Muslims looking for meaningful long-term relationships are easy to find.
Muzmatch, a dating app launched two years ago, has , people signed up.
Other apps, like Salaam Swipe and Minder, report high success rates for young Muslims who previously had a hard time finding a partner. These apps allow people to filter their searches based on level of religiosity, the kind of relationship they're looking for and other aspects such as whether the woman wears a headscarf and the man sports a beard. While the men behind these apps launched them with the hope of giving young Muslims a positive platform to interact on, they say there are still many in their societies that oppose the idea of young couples interacting.
Haroon Mokhtarzada, founder of Minder, says that a lot of this disapproval stems more from the fear of people in their communities gossiping than it does from the actual interaction the couples have.
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So I don't think it's the parents who are worried for themselves because they don't want their daughter talking to a guy or whatever, as much as it's them worrying about their family name and people talking and becoming part of a gossip mill," he says. To combat this, Shahzad Younas, founder of Muzmatch, incorporated various privacy settings within the app, allowing people to hide their pictures until the match gets more serious and even allowing a guardian to have access to the chat to ensure it remains halal.
Like many Muslim women, Ileiwat has chosen not to wear the hijab, but that has not saved her from glares and stares if she's out in public with her boyfriend. Because of the prohibition on premarital sex, older Muslims often frown upon any visible interaction between unmarried young people, no matter how innocent. This can sometimes lead to assumptions that two individuals of the opposite sex who are just hanging out have an inappropriate premarital relationship.
Which is ridiculous, but it makes for a juicy story," Ileiwat says, adding that even some of her younger married friends are subject to the gossip mill. But the fear of gossip and the older generation's fear of sexual relations between young men and women have made the concept of dating more intriguing for younger Muslims.
Using the word dating to describe relationships has resulted in a schism between older and younger generations. What does this do to your psyche, to your spirit, to your whole way of life living with a man this violent who could kill you and your children? I was so bound by fear. Bush has said Islam is a peaceful religion.
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You are telling me otherwise. You are saying it is not. Is this a certain segment of Islamic people? It says that when you see an unbeliever, smite at their neck until you make a great slaughter of them. Now what does that tell you?
It says, to take not Jews and Christians as your friend. What does the Bible say? In the last days, even the elect, if it were possible, will be deceived. One day she felt compelled to sneak and read the Bible. The lights went on and the veil was taken off. I realized I had been deceived by fine-sounding arguments, and I had denied Christ. Now it was time to tell Mohammed. He actually let her go to church for a while, but when she said she wanted to leave their religion. When I came home that night, he gave me two weeks to come back to Islam.
I said, 'Mohammed, I am ready to die for Christ. We lived in shelters back and forth for over a year. After 14 years of heartache, Katrina now actively warns other women to avoid the same pain. They want the world. What do you tell women who are considering converting to marry a man who is a Muslim?
Your heart will break. He divorced you on the grounds that you had converted? Our children still go in and out of his home here in the U. And this man is a Christian?