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"It's not like we can go to clubs or bars to meet people in our community, because there's a reputation to uphold and there's a stigma attached to going out and meeting people."That stigma, prevalent in many immigrant communities, also applies to meeting people online, which is generally viewed by some as desperate.But as more people sign up for these apps, that notion is being challenged, says Muzmatch CEO and founder Shahzad Younas."There is an element of taboo still, but it's going," Younas says.Samira is in her late 20s and a singles event regular. She’s been to three of them in the last five years. “Obviously we don’t have bars to go out and meet Muslim guys, and I like that this is more organized because the people here are only here to get married, and not just have a good time.” At her table, there are three other women and four men – an uncommon sight at most Muslim gatherings where the sexes sit separately. There’s a piece of paper on the table that has 10 questions on it. At one table a man answers the question: “the last thing I read was..article about the pope controversy, a textbook because I’m doing my M. H., Steve Jobs’ biography.” As I roam the tables, I realize the questions are indeed serving their purpose. Laughs, and a warm buzz of intimacy build in the room.
It’s a Saturday afternoon, and about 80 young men and women, sharply dressed, fill a room decorated with purple decor, red roses, and scented candles.There are, of course, similarities between Muslim and mainstream dating apps like Tinder, Ok Cupid and Match.All have their fair share of quirky bios, pictures of guys in muscle shirts and awkward conversations about what we do for a living. Minder is a real thing, an app Muslims use to browse local singles, much like Tinder.They don't get why you cover your hair or why you don't eat during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. I've been asked countless times if we get hitched solely through arranged marriages.