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.
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.”
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.
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