By ZEYNAB GAMIELDIEN
The cute guy sitting next to you in your tutorial? Off-limits. The guy in the cubicle next to yours with the cool ergonomic lunchbox? Not an option. No parties, no clubs, no bars, no alcohol. Is this sounding impossible to you yet? Well, this is the reality of being a young Muslim living in Australia in search of the one.
Before you decide to throw a pity party because of how oppressed you think Muslims are and what a sad existence this must be, bear in mind that this is a lifestyle choice and one I, like many others, am more than happy to make. (I won’t deny that there are cases where people are forced into things against their will, but that’s a whole other can of worms.)
I want to marry someone who shares my faith. To me, it’s not a restriction as much as it is a screening requirement, just like some people would never be with a guy who votes Liberal or who doesn’t know what song made number one on Triple J’s Hottest 100. In some way or other, we all screen potential partners based on what is important to us. Whatever floats your boat, I say, and for me shared religious values really gets the boat sailing.
Down to the meaty stuff. If you can’t imagine how it is that a person can find a partner when 99% of the population are a no-go, you’d be right. It’s pretty darn hard. If you’re content to wait for Prince Charming to come knocking on your front door, you do nothing, because chances are he might just do that. Some Muslims still operate under Austen-like parameters, with a potential suitor coming to your house and sipping tea with you and your family. It’s exactly like a blind date, except your parents and his tag along for the ride. You sit there and make conversation on the couch, being careful not to sit too close or laugh too much at first. Again, if Jane Austen were here today she’d totally understand; propriety is everything.