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G rowing up, Olivia Smith-Elnaggar was definitely a romantic. By "that," Smith-Elnaggar means falling in love, finding a life partner and getting married.
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Those traditions can vary greatly, of course — there are several million Muslims in North America whose ancestors come from all over the world. But among practising Muslims, the core rules for finding a partner remain more or less the same. Young people are expected to involve their families in their search, and chaperones are commonly present when potential couples are getting to know each other. Following traditional courtship rules can make it difficult to meet like-minded young people, especially since interaction between genders is often discouraged in Muslim communities.
He said Salaam Swipe provides a "middle ground" for young Muslims who want to seek relationships in a way that aligns with their values — one that also gives them a chance to meet people from outside their immediate communities. It also offers a feature called Incognito Mode, which allows users to hide from friends and family. Muzmatch leads new users through a question survey to determine how devout they are — to ensure they are matched with someone with a similar lifestyle and beliefs. In addition, the app places great emphasis on privacy and security. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are verified.
Users must snap a picture of themselves on the spot so the selfie can be verified against profile photos. Of course, not all young Muslims follow the traditional courtship rules that apps such as muzmatch and Salaam Swipe try to emulate. At one point, Smith-Elnaggar was on two dating websites — one for Muslims and one with no religious affiliation. Making things more frustrating, she said, is that basic conversations about sex, relationships and marriage are lacking in many Muslim communities. In her family, the rules were simple: Young Muslims growing up in North America often feel unable to talk frankly about such subjects, especially publicly or with their families.
As she got older, their rules about sex and dating made less sense to her, and the lack of conversation didn't help. The Pakistani-Canadian found herself questioning her religious traditions. She still identifies as a Muslim — but in a more spiritual sense.
She participates in Eid celebrations after Ramadan and spends time at a summer camp for Muslim youth. And yes, television and movies influenced some of her views. Khan now has a boyfriend, whose family is from Saudi Arabia. The two met during university and dated in secret for almost a year before her parents found out. Now that her family is warming up to the situation, Khan says she feels more pressure — obviously, her parents want it to lead to marriage. She says her father was more understanding than her mother.
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Toronto-based helpline Naseeha aims to help Muslim youth across North America untangle subjects they may not be able to broach with their parents. This includes issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Muslims, who often face difficulties exploring gender and sexuality. Ify Okoye, a nurse, student and writer in Baltimore, Md. When she converted, she stayed closeted for a while, trying to find her place in this new community but also feeling uncomfortable with the way queerness was addressed all around her.
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Okoye came out in , in part through an essay in the anthology Love, InshAllah: To her dismay, she found that the community she had grown close to over almost 10 years began to distance itself from her. She began going to retreats for queer Muslims. Smith-Elnaggar also says it was a book that helped her to not feel alone: She is seeing someone now, but she doesn't like to call him her boyfriend — to her, that word is associated with dating. I believe the Qur'an when it tells us that Allah is the Lord of the worlds. I believe that Allah has a magnificent imagination that is evident in every aspect of our lives.
I believe that His imagination brought us the world of Earth as much as it brought us the worlds of Jupiter, Neptune etc. I believe too that within our own Earthly world that there exists heterosexuality and homosexuality; and both were created by His grand design. I honestly don't believe that homosexuality is a sin. The Imam at my local mosque encouraged me not to tell any of the sisters within our masjid that I'm a lesbian. He felt that they wouldn't take it well.
So immediately my mosque became a place where I couldn't be myself. When I'm there I will always have to hide a part of who I am.
I think that's sad. I want to connect with people I can truly relate to. I am single right now, but I hope that soon I will find a relationship with another lesbian Muslim. I don't expect this community to help me find a date, although I would be grateful if a real life relationship did develop. I really want to connect with other people and not feel like such an outsider within my own religion. Research opportunity for lesbian and bisexual women Hi! If you are a lesbian or bisexual women between 18 and 25 years of age,then I invite you to participate in a research opportunity aimed at assessing the health and wellness of sexual minority women.
This study is completely confidential and none of your responses can be linked to your identity. Thank you for your time and please share with others! Here is the survey link: Comment on this. Academic Bi: We've got the dates. We've got the locations. Now all we need it you!!
Brand New! If you know of such a group, could you please take a minute to check your state's listing and make sure it has been included? Calling all queers in Malaysia! Mods, please delete if this post breaks any community rules Hi everyone. All are welcome. Crossposted in many communities on LJ. Current Mood: Frickin awesome.
First gay PM for Iceland cabinet Iceland has announced a new government that will be headed by the modern world's first openly gay leader. Johanna Sigurdardottir was named new prime minister by the country's coalition political parties. The group will be using English texts. We are planning to meet once a month beginning in January.
For more information, including the date and location of our meetings, please write to nur. We ask for everyone's support in helping to make this as safe a space as possible, which includes respecting the need for confidentiality for many of those who may participate in our group. For our first meeting, the reading will be Qur'anic Hermeneutics and Women's Liberation, a talk given by Asma Barlas available here: We invite all those who plan to attend to read the article ahead of time and bring your thoughts. In solidarity, Nadia and Gabriel. Call for Submissions: In a special issue the 'Journal of Bisexuality' seek to further the discourse on the relationship between sexuality and spirituality.
Muslim Perspectives. Held at George Washington University, October 26, I apologize these notes are so sketchy a summary of what was said. Check the site http: Amal Amireh spoke about the exploitation of the gay rights issue by those with an Islamophobic agenda.
She said the M-word has replaced the N-word. The issue of sexuality leads to the discourse of difference: The use of gay Muslims not for the sake of the gay people themselves but in order to bash Islam. It is used like the "oppressed Muslim woman" has long been used to attack Islam, when in fact the condescending Orientalist discourse that exploits this issue doesn't care about women. They insist on both Muslim and queer identity, and refuse to choose just one.
They are attacked as "native informants," i. The politics of denial allows for the politics of homophobia, so that gays are subject to attacks. Amal stressed that this is not a Muslim monopoly: She concluded that we can be against homophobia without bombing the Muslim countries; to be against Islamophobia without the politics of denial of gays.