An approach half way between that of arranged marriages and choosing one’s mate is taking shape among Muslims in the U.S., reports the New York Times (September 19).
In the past, dating in any form was condemned as sinful and arranged marriage was seen as the only truly Islamic alternative . But the force of assimilation has introduced some compromises. Panelists at the recent conference of the Islamic Society of North America see a hybrid form of arranged marriage emerging in the U.S., where the young do choose their mates, but the parents are “at least partly involved in the process in something like half the cases,“ writes Neil MacFarquhar.
The combination of modern and traditional courtship practices was on view at the gathering. A “matrimonial banquet” was held where single American Muslim men spent seven minutes talking to women at each table, mirroring the popular practice of “speed dating” on the American single scene. Yet the parents were often on hand to lend their approval to the deliberations. A recent informal study found that one-third of Muslim marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. This is a lower figure than found among non-Muslims, but divorce is still a growing concern in the Islamic community.