Why millions of Muslims are turning to online dating

Posted by Ria, 17 Dec

Everyone is doing it... Even your grandma could be doing it. So it's probably not surprising that more Western Muslims are dating online, right? According to the BBC report, millions of Muslims are signing up for online matchmaking.

The thing is, much as arranged marriages are common practice in many Muslim societies, it is the screening process that most young Muslims are fed up with. It is too pressurized.

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"You don't like her? Why not? She got two legs, she got two arms, she's a professional. How can you not like her?"

This is how conversations went when it came to the family-orchestrated matchmaking. Adeem Younis remembers the pressure too well: "Someone would be brought round for an evening meal and it was a really big deal. The samosas came out and the chicken and the chapattis..." And all young Muslims are looking for is "samosa-free" matchmaking.

And for them, online dating offers a stress free solution due to its convenience and ease... Online dating is not a family affair.

There are a number of dating sites that have been created for this niche because in Islam, "marriage is equal to half your religion... marriage is the cornerstone of the society as a whole". So what most of these sites provide is an easier way to meeting a life partner.

According to Muhammad, one of the people interviewed, Islam doesn't provide a wide range of avenues to meet a spouse. "Devout Muslims don't go pubbing and clubbing. In typical Western cultures that's OK, but in Muslim culture it's frowned upon. So there are very few avenues, apart from family contact, for matchmaking to occur."

Muhammad (Bangladeshi) met his wife Catherine (British) on an online dating site. The couple is happily married with two kids. And much as such their union may seem unusual in the Muslim culture, these are the kind of relationships that the websites are encouraging.

However in Muslim-majority cultures, meeting online is something that is disapproved of; something unnatural. A good example is this guy Riad who is Tunisian. Despite meeting his wife online, he has reservations about online dating.

I am thinking if you had online dating success, wouldn't you want it for others?

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