Muslim dating has come of age with its own “a modern Muslim woman with an age-old dilemma”. She is seeking Mr Right but with no sex before marriage and no alcohol. In Britain, these women are part of a growing demographic: educated, independent career women, who struggle to find a partner, especially over 30. British Asians have long been early adopters of the technology to find marriage partners. Even the old aunty network of helpful family matriarchs has gone high tech, I’m told, with handwritten notes replaced, with Excel spread sheets of available “boys” and “girls” aged 20 to 55. Though originally Hindu-focused, the biggest marriage websites, such Shaadi.com, have separate Muslim sections. MuslimandSingle.com has a quick checklist on religiosity: Do you conduct salah (the five-times-a-day prayer ritual)? How often? Eat halal?
It seems there are reformations and counter-reformations under way in modern Muslim dating: Some websites encourage modern women to embrace the concept of the “submissive” first (or second) wife. Other couples though are quietly using the nikah (Islamic wedding contract) to try out cohabitation before the finality of a civil marriage. Some forward-looking imams want doctrine updated to allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslims, just as Muslim men can. Struck by “the huge numbers of confident college girls wearing wild and elaborate hijabs, loads of makeup and kissing their boyfriends in public”. Many women develop an assertive Muslim identity at university. Some may seem conservative, from their dress and religious practice, but meet and choose their own husbands on demonstrations or political events. They have married men from different ethnicities, challenging their parents’ racism and obsession with family background. After all, in Islam, all are equal. It’s a fascinating new combination of values from faith and the secular society in which they grew up.
The women interviewed say the biggest challenge has been to find a man on the same Islamic wavelength; not looking for a “submissive” wife nor so “liberal” that they’re drinking and sleeping around.
Two-thirds of young British Asians agree that families should live according to the concept of “honour”, a poll for BBC Panorama suggests.
Of 500 young Asians questioned, 18% also felt that certain behaviour by women that could affect her family’s honour justified physical punishment.
These included disobeying their father, and wanting to leave an existing or prearranged marriage.
The results come as women’s groups call for action to stop “honour” crimes.
The poll, conducted for the BBC by ComRes, interviewed young Asians living in Britain between the ages of 16 and 34.
Chris Morris, a humorist whose past TV programs have triggered controversy, has made a film about a group of British suicide bombers.
Four Lions, which was partially funded by Film4, was screened last night at the Sundance film festival in Utah. The film culminates in scenes in which four young suicide bombers dressed in bird costumes question their motives at the last minute, causing chaos at the London marathon.
Morris is known to have worked on little else over the last five years, during which he rejected the opportunity to pursue other TV and film projects. The 44-year-old satirist does not appear in the film, but provides a voiceover at its conclusion.
“Chris has spent an incredible amount of time immersing himself in Islam, terror and counter-terror,” a friend said. “He has toured Britain and met dozens of radicals, ex-radicals, academics, journalists and British Asians. He sat in on high-profile terror trials for weeks, read the key texts and recent books, has gone to innumerable public meetings, met community groups, and made it his business to educate himself on the nature of fundamentalism.”
Muslim teenagers in the UK are much more assimilated with the nation than their counterparts growing up in other European countries, new research claims. Young British Asians are less radical, do better in school and suffer less discrimination than Muslim youngsters brought up in France and Germany, according to the survey.
Researchers at Lancaster University claim that their poll, based on 2,500 young adults aged 16 to 25, is proof that multiculturalism is working. For the study, young second generation Pakistanis and Indians who were also Muslims living in Blackburn and Rochdale were compared with Moroccan and Algerian youngsters in France and Turks and former Yugoslavs in Germany.
It showed British Asian youngsters are remarkably similar to their white contemporaries; they enjoy watching soaps like EastEnders and Coronation Street, are most likely to read The Mirror or The Sun newspaper and are turned off by politics. Although there is a ‘moral panic’ about young muslims, the British ‘multicultural’ approach of accommodating immigrants actually works better than the French or German approaches, it is claimed.
The research is to be published in a new book, co-authored by Professor Roger Penn of Lancaster, titled Children of International Migrants in Europe.
The Daily Mail
Global Arab Network
The Asian News
Thousands of young British Asians are spurning the tradition of allowing their parents to choose their partners and are instead relying on matchmaking via the internet. Online dating is growing increasingly popular with young Muslims, some of whom are forbidden from dating before marriage and have to accept their parents’ choice of partner. Now they can browse through potential partners online without breaking any of the rules of Islam. Yepoka Yeebo reports. Times Onlinehttp://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article2759360.ece
More than a third of British Asians do not feel British, a BBC poll suggests. The research among the under-34s for the Asian Network found 38% of the UK residents of South Asian origin felt only slightly or not at all British. More than a third agreed to get on in the UK they needed to be a “coconut”, a term for somebody who is “brown on the outside but white on the inside”. ICM Research interviewed 500 Asian people aged 16-34 and 235 white people aged 18-34 between 4 and 12 July. Of those polled 84% were satisfied with life in Britain and almost half thought they have more opportunities here. All of the British Asians polled were of South Asian origin… Among the British Asians interviewed were 296 Muslims, 112 Hindus, 39 Sikhs and 33 Christians.
By AMIT ROY London: A growing number of young people of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin have been so traumatised by the aftermath of 9/11 that they now prefer to identify themselves as “British Muslims” rather than as “British Asian”, a provocative BBC radio documentary claimed on Tuesday night. The programme on BBC Radio 4, Don’t Call Me Asian, was presented by journalist Sarfraz Manzoor, who began by admitting: “A few years ago I, too, would have described myself as a British Asian. But these days I am just as likely to say that I am a British Muslim.” He explained: “I remember that the reason I used Asian was because it offered less ammunition to racists than saying or admitting I was Pakistani.” In his quest to prove that others have also rejected the term “British Asian” and now want to be defined exclusively by their religion, Manzoor interviewed a number of young people. One man of Pakistani origin insisted: “I think the word Asian is dead. Recent events globally and for me personally have made me re-examine what my identity is and hence I call myself British Muslim. Previously I would call myself Asian or Pakistani.” When Manzoor interviewed young Hindus who apparently no longer want to be called British Asian, an Indian girl commented: “Initially, if I had to fill out a form I would say British Asian. Events like September 11 have shaken us all up and we don’t wish to be under that banner of Asian any more.” A young Bangladeshi woman at university revealed that she self-consciously tried out a hijab at home and then started wearing it outside. “I became more conscious of who I was and what I did and how that affected every area of my life,” she said. Aftab Hussain, who works for a theatre company, found himself quizzed by his non-Muslim friends, “Why does Islam say this or that?” He eventually found himself “having to go away and learn about my religion. It has made young people more proactive about being Muslim”. Mohammed Mamdani, the founder of Muslim Youth Helpline, told Manzoor: “Many young Muslims are in a very fearful state where they don’t know how they fit into a society which constantly refers to their religion in terms of terrorism or radicalisation. This is also propagating the marginalisation and alienation of young Muslims”. According to Tariq Madood, professor of sociology at Bristol University, media portrayal of young Muslims hasn’t helped. “If there are disturbances at Bradford and the BBC is describing them as ‘Asian youths’, Hindus and Sikhs will get up and say, ‘Well, actually, what is the point of calling them Asian youths when they are Pakistani Muslims?’ ” Madood went on: “People want to be more assertive of the identities that they themselves choose to prioritise and this is partly because they want to promote their own good image and partly to disassociate themselves from what they see as the bad images with which they are being confused.” Manzoor interviewed young people attending the annual conference of the National Hindu Federation in London, where a young woman told him that she was travelling on the underground when “I was asked by a young white male whether I was Muslim and whether my people were responsible for September 11. And I said, I am not Muslim and my people weren’t responsible for September 11. So going on from there I do want my own identity now”. But a more representative sample of young Asians, taken, say, at a music concert, would probably find only one out of 100 keen to be defined purely in religious terms. At Oldham College in a city rocked by riots over three years ago, a youth of Pakistani origin argued: “We are Asian and that’s what we are. I call myself British Asian.” Manzoor interviewed the academic Lord Bhikhu Parekh, who disapproved of the tendency for people to define themselves only as Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. “The tendency of a community to define itself entirely in religious terms and to collapse its complete complex identity – political, cultural and others – into a single, one-dimensional religious identity is a very worrying phenomenon,” he said. “No individual is simply a Muslim. He is also a Pakistani or an Indian, he is also a male, he is also a professor, and then for him to say, ‘All those things don’t matter at all, the only thing that matters about me is that I am a Muslim,’ is in itself worrying. That leads to a great impoverishment of an individual’s capacity to understand himself or herself.” “If somebody were to say to me he defines himself as a Muslim and therefore he sees me as a Hindu, I would feel he was not only impoverishing himself but he was doing a lot of harm by abridging my identity. It then becomes difficult to operate in a relatively secular society,” Parekh added.