Thursday, September 21, 2006

What's Muslim Dating Like In US?

CHICAGO: So here's the thing about speed dating for Muslims. Many American Muslims — or at least those bent on maintaining certain conservative traditions — equate anything labelled "dating" with hellfire, no matter how short a time is involved.

Hence the wildly popular speed dating sessions at the largest annual Muslim conference in North America were given an entirely more respectable label. They were called the "matrimonial banquet."

"If we called it speed dating, it will end up with real dating," said Shamshad Hussain, one of the organisers, grimacing.

Both the banquet earlier this month and various related seminars underscored the difficulty that some American Muslim families face in grappling with an issue on which many prefer not to assimilate.

One seminar, called "Dating," promised attendees helpful hints for "Muslim families struggling to save their children from it."

The couple of hundred people attending the dating seminar burst out laughing when Imam Muhamed Magid of the Adams Center, a collective of seven mosques in Virginia, summed up the basic instructions that Muslim American parents give their adolescent children, particularly males: "Don't talk to the Muslim girls, ever, but you are going to marry them. As for the non-Muslim girls, talk to them, but don't ever bring one home."

"These kids grew up in America, where the social norm is that it is OK to date, that it is OK to have sex before marriage," Magid said.

"So the kids are caught between the ideal of their parents and the openness of the culture on this issue." The questions raised at the seminar reflected how pained American Muslims are by the subject.

NY Times

Dirty Speed Dating