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Before the room went dark, Rocky the neurosurgeon emerged to pray.
He said he had fun meeting people, but to his sister’s chagrin, he did not write down anyone’s number or e-mail address.
Increased mobility also takes the young away from extended families that could facilitate introductions. Observant Muslims must also contend with one major constraint that many non-Muslims in America don’t face: a prohibition on premarital relations between men and women. “That way you can place a person in the context of several relationships.” For the families of Asma Ashraf, 28, and Jaweed Mohammed, 31, it was a whirlwind romance.
That means no dating in the conventional sense “to protect the dignity and modesty of each,” Husain said. The couple met at an ISNA matrimonial banquet in Chicago in 2010.
Rocky has been so engrossed in his medical training, a male friend standing next to him explained, he has had no time to meet potential spouses. If a man or woman finds someone they are interested in, the next step is to meet the parents.
His predicament is becoming more common, said Altaf Husain, an assistant professor of social work at Howard University and an ISNA trustee. “Young Muslims tell me, ‘My parents can’t help me because they don’t know anyone where I live.’ ” Another problem is that women outnumber men, Husain said, including at the banquet. “Muslims value the process of getting married not so much on the individual level, but as a process between two families,” Husain said.
At a Moroccan cafe in Melbourne, a restaurateur and a team of volunteers are holding monthly events, which they've called Muslim Speed Dating.Kadir, the Tampa insurance salesman, was not keen on anyone he met.He said he preferred to encounter potential mates in a more organic way, such as at a party or a wedding. Raza, the engineer from Atlanta, found the experience a tad frustrating. He also planned to try his luck again at Sunday’s banquet.The guy in the suit was an electrical engineer from Atlanta named Mo Raza, 30. Kadir, who owns an insurance business in Tampa, went to one a couple of years ago and Raza was asking him how it worked. “You might not want to ask everyone that,” he said.The format this year entailed having the women sit on one side of a long rectangular table with men close to their age parked across from them. “Make them feel like you’re really into them.” Raza said he wanted to ask the women whether they wanted to keep working after starting a family, not so much because he had a staunch preference, but to gauge her reaction. The real test would be meeting Raza’s mother, who was standing behind him, one of many relatives and friends who accompanied some of the attendees.