Many British Asians prefer to find their life partners through he medium of the internet. This new trend is in contrast to the old tradition of allowing parents to choose partners for their children.
Known as online dating, it is growing increasingly popular with many second and third generation 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.
Because of the ethnic and religious views of Asians, many dating services incorporate traditional aspects. Parents can view and veto potential partners on some sites, while chaperones attend any meetings between the matched couple to ensure that there is no impropriety, reports Times Online.
According to Shaadi.com, based in India, 700,000 of its ten million members are in Britain. Meanwhile, of the 100,000 users browsing singlemuslim.com, about 10 per cent are British.
Internet dating has solved the dilemma for young people who want to choose their partner but marry within their religious and racial groups.
According to Denise Knowles, a counselor, marriage websites are an extension of having family and friends introduce potential partners. "They let you design the perfect partner," she says. "It's a way of meeting people, and you don't have to continue if it doesn't work out. That's what makes it different from strictly arranged marriages," she adds.
These websites are quite convenient as well. "People put up a profile, and find out what they're looking for - aspects like religion, age, height, disabilities another things. Then, they can search for people. Everything from a basic search within an age range to a particular criteria is possible in these websites," says Adeem Younis, owner of a matrimonial website.
Internet dating has truly solved the dilemma for young people who want to choose their partner, but marry within their religious and racial groups.