Online dating gains traction among Muslims in West

But outside of the West, many Muslim-majority cultures tend to disapprove of the practice

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Due in part to convenience and ease, Muslim singles in the Western world are increasingly turning towards online dating, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

Adeem Younis, founder of matchmaking site Single Muslim, which boasts of having over one million members, told the BBC that he set up the service after to avoid the pain of family-orchestrated matchmaking – and as an alternative to the more casual hook-up culture prevalent with many secular dating sites.

“In Islam, marriage is equal to half of your religion,” he said. “Islam teaches us that marriage is the cornerstone of society as a whole.”

One person interviewed said meeting others online was a way to avoid certain social venues discouraged in Muslim culture.

“There isn’t that scope to meet people… 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.”

Clashing tradition

However, outside of the West, many Muslim-majority cultures tend to disapprove of meeting a potential spouse in cyberspace.

“Very religious families would prefer that their children meet future partners in the traditional ways, through the family. They take the view that meeting a partner online isn’t natural and they are therefore very suspicious,” Riad, a Tunisian man who met his wife online, told the BBC.

And some say that - despite constantly-increasing family pressure to get married - online dating is not necessarily a viable option for older Muslim singles.

Najma Khan, 38 said that the supposedly-eligible men she meets online are not what they seem.

“Whenever I ask [online] to meet up, the guys are suddenly unavailable,” she told Asian Image, a site that caters for the British Asian community,

“I asked a couple of guys straight out if they were genuinely single. They admitted they were married and just wanted a bit of fun in the evenings by going on the website,” she added.

“Being a single Asian woman of a certain age means people regard you as ‘desperate’ or ‘fallen.”