Jessa experienced these issues first-hand as a young Muslim in Canada and felt that “it is just too difficult to meet one another within our communities”, citing lack of opportunity and space to meet people as a key issue for Muslims.
Saify echoed this, saying that “[y]ou either know all the Muslims in your community, or you live in a city without many options to explore the potential of love.” He noted that there were few “inclusive” spaces for Muslims of all stripes and colours to meet other Muslims, something he hopes will change with apps such as his.
The simplest approach to avoid this problem is to continue to use the Facebook app but not use the in-app browser.
Of course, being part of any minority group compounds the issue, so it was only a matter of time before Muslims jumped on the app bandwagon and got cracking with their own versions.
Saify noted that there is often “friction” associated with Muslims meeting partners and that apps like Crescent can play a part in making the process smoother and more natural, while Salaam Swipe reflects an attempt on Jessa’s part to “level the playing field and make it as fun and easy to meet people within our community, as it is to meet people outside of our community.” Studies have shown that a third of couples in the US now meet online, and it appears that many Muslims in the US are jumping right on board.
It’s difficult to say how many Australian Muslims would be open to the idea.
From my discussions with young Muslims locally, it seems many have reservations, wondering if the pool would be too shallow for them to bother diving into.
There’s also the stigma attached to using ‘dating apps’, which seems to be a significant deterrent for young Aussie Muslims, particularly those born to first-generation migrants.
I’ve spoken to people in Australia about whether they would use these apps and responses have been mixed.
Some people are open to it, seeing it as convenient and discreet.
Saify admitted that there is a stigma attached to Muslims meeting people online, and while he notes that it’s already happening, “no one is going to readily admit it.” However, Jessa believed that “it makes total sense” to search for someone online, particularly for Muslims who are looking for very specific characteristics in a partner.