If the popularity of Hana Assafiri's Speed Date a Muslim event is anything to go by, these thoughts are rattling around the minds of many Australians.Once a fortnight, Assafiri's Brunswick cafe Moroccan Deli-cacy plays host to a group of Muslim women who answer questions that punters might otherwise be too afraid to ask. More than 800 registered for the last event.'We all need to interrogate the assumptions we carry,' says Assafiri.'It is as much us as Muslim women reaffirming our speaking position as it is expressing who we are to an audience that respectfully wants to hear outside and beyond the stereotype that they understand.'During the Sunday afternoon sessions, Assafiri flits between tables, helping conversation along and throwing in prompts for questions.'It's not a one-sided conversation; these events become avenues of engagement and cohesion,' she says.'Experiences like this also serve to teach us about ourselves and one-another.A quick note about arranged marriages in South Asian Muslim culture: They’re not forced, “blind”, or mandatory, especially not in 2012 New York.Gone are the days when girls would strut in front of a man’s family, serve chai, and share a special talent to impress her possible in-laws."I'm focusing on finding someone who can willingly accept me for who I am." Malaysia is a largely moderate Muslim country, where Islam is the official religion and ethnic Malay Muslims make up two thirds of the 30 million people.Many young Malaysians meet as young people do in many places, including through the dating app Tinder and on Facebook, but dating is complicated for young Muslims in Malaysia, where public displays of affection and intimacy before marriage is strictly disapproved of.
Millanus bills itself as a “premier professional matrimonial service.” Its motto: “Muslims marry Muslims.” For a fee of 0, I could talk one-on-one with eligible Muslim men for five minutes each. While I respect the need to find companionship at any stage of life, the gender and age imbalance of the event meant that there would be no groupings by age—everyone would talk to everyone.One of the Muslim women said to me, "I've never sat opposite a bikie before." That was amazing.' Assafiri says Australian Muslim women are still routinely harassed and abused in public.'Every time something happens overseas, even if it's 1000 miles away, we worry about the repercussions here,' says Sara, an Islamic school principal and one of the session volunteers.'I know women who have been spat on on trains and had their scarves pulled off.I've had beer cans and eggs thrown at my car and have been rammed off a freeway.'I actually went and learnt Krav Maga in case I was attacked.'The 'speed-dating' sessions have attracted a mixed crowd so far.KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Dressed in a headscarf and full-length robe, 24 year-old Nurnadille Edlena takes notes intently as the man before her introduces himself.The two are at Halal Speed Dating, a new matchmaking event in Kuala Lumpur that is helping Malaysian Muslims find partners in a largely conservative society where courtship is frowned upon and marriages are often arranged.