MDate Joins Ranks of Faith-Based Matchmaking Web Sites

MDate offers Muslim singles a place to find love online .

ByREBECCA LEE

May 29, 2007 — -- Are you single and looking for love? If so, you're probably aware of the seemingly infinite number of Internet dating services available to singles of all shapes and sizes. E-harmony, Match.com, Gay Date, Veggie Date (for vegetarian singles) , and even Gothic Love Online — to name a few — have enjoyed tremendous success in the past few years, helping single men and women across the globe in their search for a compatible mate.

Now joining the ranks of JDate, for Jewish singles, and ChristianSingles.com, a new online faith-based dating service called Singlemuslim.com has arrived. "Muslims of all origins, background, converts, white Muslims, Asian Muslims, black Muslims, anybody, as long as you are within the Muslim faith group and single, we accept you on the service," said the site's founder, Adeem Younis.

Although available in the United Kingdom since 2000, Singlemuslim.com, which also has Pakistani-, Canadian-, and Australian-centered Web pages, launched its U.S. site just last month to outstanding success, according to the founder.

"We launched the U.S. site three weeks ago," said Younis. "So far we have had a fantastic response with people registering from all over the U.S. It's a bigger success story than our U.K. site."

The Britain-based singles site, which now claims more than 100,000 users, was established seven years ago as a way for young Western-born Muslims to find compatible partners with similar values and interests. But Singlemuslim.com is not a typical matchmaking service.

"I've got to stress that Singlemuslim is not an Internet dating Web site," said Younis. "It's an Internet marriage service. We operate strictly for marriage purposes, and everyone on the service should be looking toward getting married."

Singlemuslim.com bills itself as an "introductions agency" for young Muslims looking for a traditional marriage. Like many of its counterparts, the international site is profile-based, allowing members to Instant Message, chat, and exchange photos. However, Singlemuslim.com has added privacy features that protect users' identities through secure profiles and photo galleries. Younis argues that these privacy settings, which cater mainly to female Muslims who want to put themselves out there while still retaining a certain level of anonymity, are what set Singlemusilm.com apart from the rest.

"The service is unique on [the confidentiality] front," said Younis. "We police profiles, the message center, and the live chat facility quite heavily. It is a very secure, confidential service. The site is basically structured around the sensibility of female Muslims. The privacy, the pacing of the site, the vetting — all of these are to protect those genuinely looking for a marriage partner."

Younis, who met his wife through an online dating service, says he launched the site as an alternative to the tight-knit community network traditional Muslim families often rely on for matchmaking. "It is extremely difficult with second- and third-generation Muslims. A lot of times parents want to take their kids back to the country of origin to find a partner, but now British Muslims are looking for choice. People are looking for mates with the same outlook on life, the same background," he said.

Ultimately, Younis hopes to use this new technology as a means of bridging the generational gap in Muslim communities. Although, Younis admits, the Muslim community has strong misgivings regarding online dating, the service continues to grow.

"We're not fighting against the tradition," Younis said. "We are working with the traditions. We are working with elders from the community, we are working with parents."

And, it seems, all that hard work and negotiation has paid off — Younis now credits the site with an average of two matches — that is marriages — every day.

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