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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.
Black Muslim Dating
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.
But as globalization increased, this changed.Muslim Dating Struggles
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. Then there's the limitless online world. 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, haspeople 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.
Startups Cater To Muslim Millennials With Dating Apps And Vegan Halal Soap 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.
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. But no app setting can stop the gossip mill. 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. Hodges says children pick up the popular vernacular from peers, leading to a barrier between what children say and how parents understand it.
Because of this miscommunication, many couples instead use words like "togetherness" and "an understanding" as synonyms when talking to their parents about their relationships.
For The Love Of Culture: Racial Hierarchies In Muslim American Dating | HuffPost
Hodges refers to this gap as "that ocean between England and America," where words might be the same, but the way they are perceived is vastly different.
Mia, a year-old Ethiopian-American college student who has shied away from having sex with her boyfriend of almost a year, can attest to this. I like to use the word 'talking' or 'getting to know. But words, especially those borrowed from other places, soon take on the cultural contexts in which they are used.
Physical relations are simply a choice," says Taimur Ali, a senior at Georgetown University's Qatar campus.
How Young Muslims Define 'Halal Dating' For Themselves : Code Switch : NPR
The current generation "really wants to have the [dating] experience without having the full extent of the experience," Arian says. 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. The South Asian and Arab communities that immigrated in the 80s and 90s have established themselves in various professions in the US as doctors, store owners, engineers, taxi drivers, and so on.
- Things You Only Know When Your Boyfriend's Muslim And You're Not
- For The Love Of Culture: Racial Hierarchies In Muslim American Dating
As more people from the same ethnic group gather and form a community, they eventually start to raise money and build a mosque, which serves as a primary space of gathering for those within this specific ethnic community. Various other ethnicities attend these mosques as well for their spiritual fulfillment. Yet, despite the mixing of ethnicities at the mosque during prayer, the social groups that form outside of the mosque are quite homogenous.
However, the same post-mosque social group separation is not as apparent in second generation Muslims compared to first immigrant Muslims. Perhaps because of a more shared American identity, or perhaps because of more interaction and inclusion in college spaces, but social gatherings today are not as divided along ethnic lines as they were in the past.
Therefore, you find more interracial dating and marriage within second generation Muslim Americans that was not as present in with first generation immigrants.
Yet, the ugly truth is that certain interracial marriages are more accepted than others. Within the South Asian community, there is strong association with whiteness and beauty. From the casting of very fair Bollywood actors and actresses to advertisements for the infamous Fair and Lovely skin whitening cream, to parents who implore their sons and daughters to avoid spending too much time in the sun to avoid becoming dark, there is a not-so-subtle message that white is right.
How Young Muslims Define 'Halal Dating' For Themselves
This preference for lighter skin tone is also present within Arab and other non-Black Muslim communities, but perhaps it is not as blatant as within the South Asian community.
Yet, what is common among nearly all non-Black communities is a general dislike of Black skin, and by association Black people. However, these same parents get excited by the prospects of their son or daughter marrying a white convert, or even a very fair Arab. Yet they revert to the culture excuse in order to save face when the prospects of a Black person is presented. I am fortunate enough to have friends from various ethnicities within the Muslim American community, and I think each individual has the right to date or marry whoever they want.
If people choose to prioritize marrying someone of their same ethnicity because of language, cultural similarities, love for Bollywood or something else that they have decided is important to them, then they should certainly proceed in this manner. In a hilarious twist of irony, a friend, who is a white Muslim convert that is very involved within my local community and a very trusted individual, discussed on Facebook the issues with this racial hierarchy, which he sees first hand.
Often, people will come to him frustrated with the prospects of finding a spouse and ask him to introduce them to good Muslim men or women for the purpose of marriage.
As a litmus test to assess their openness, he often starts by stating that there is an amazing Black brother or sister in the community that he thinks would be a great fit.
Situations like these make me wonder whether or not parental resistance had anything to do with an aversion to such an introduction in the first place. Moreover, I wonder to what extent these excuses are actually a cover up for subconscious racism that has been allowed to fester in the name of cultural preservation, which involves worshiping white skin.
Yet the reality is that we live in an imperfect world and racism is alive and well within our community. Friends have told me tales of their parents giving them the Romeo and Juliet ultimatum when presenting someone to them of a race they did not approve of. Specifically, they had to choose between a romantic interest and keeping ties with their family.