East End entrepreneurs find money in Muslim dating: an app to lead to love and marriage

Muslim boys1114: Muslim boys on an outing from an Islam school in Bow London E8 051114 © DavidAltheer@gmail.com
Future marriage prospects? Boys on an Islamic school outing in Bow, NE London
Muslimboys14: Muslim boys play football on a reserved court at London Fields Hackney E8 131114 © david.altheer@gmial,com
Kicking on: Muslim boys playing on a reserved court in Hackney

WHO’D HAVE THOUGHT there’d be money in a dating agency for Muslims. Dating? As entrepreneur Shahzad Younas says, “Muslims don’t date, they marry”.

Yet Younas and business partner Ryan Brodie have just raised big money — £1.5 million — to boost their Muslim dating app. The Aldgate-based duo talk a good talk: Younas’s pitch to London-based Hambro Perks and other seed-funders was able to boast of a Muzmatch client base of 350,000 people around the world and 10,000-plus relationship successes.

Partner-founders: Younas and Brodie

Young or old, single Muslims are ever so slightly envious of apps such as Tinder, with their hints about casual relationships, that have been so popular with non-Muslims.

How then does Muzmatch, which is free, work? A user signs up and if a subscriber looks suitable, he or she swipes the image. With luck, that person will respond, and they can start talking.

A key point is chaperone support: a woman has the option of getting a third party to monitor the chat. Younas told Loving Dalston: “Islamically, that third party is meant to be a legal guardian and they can listen in.

“The conventional idea of meeting someone doesn’t, generally speaking, apply here [among Muslims]. No sex before marriage is the idea.”

Musliwoman14: Muslim shopper 2014 190218© david,althee@gmail,com
Phone-in: Muslims happily adopt tradition and modernity

Once a man and woman have used the app and found each other apparently compatible, they can ask their parents/guardians to arrange a meeting which, if all goes well, can lead to marriage.

Younas said: “We (at Muzmatch)  know of at least 1,000 around the world. We’ve seen people of different backgrounds meeting and marrying.

“We’ve had gay people try the app but it’s constructed with the opposite gender in mind.” Clearly, this may be  an area for amendment, if not also growth.

Are non-Muslim men who think an Asian-origin woman will make a servile wife a problem? Younas said: “You’d be amazed how quickly such people are picked up by Muzmatch.”

Some people might also be amazed by the firm’s sheer ambition: it aims to cater to 400 million single Muslims.

David  Altheer 070218

* Other Muslim dating agencies than Muzmatch are available and mosques provide marriage-broking services.

* Backstory: Muslims welcome women and gaysMosque needs your help; Stratford stages Muslim-Jewish musicalWelcome to Whitechapel but not Hackney mosquesTrump Muslim ban and Hackney

Muslim matrimony-service ad @ Shacklewell Lane Mosque Dalston HackneyE8 260415 © DavidAltheer@gmail.com
Ad at an E8 mosque

All pictures on this page © DavidAltheer [at] gmail.com, and all for sale for reproduction, apart from Younas-Brodie portrait.

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