In the world of dating we all speak the same language – the language of love. But different cultures and different religions can have very different ways of pursuing that love.
Culturally, the dating world is diverse. Each country, each religion, each culture has a different way of attracting the opposite sex. When you’re in a country with a different culture and religion to your own, though, navigating the dating pool can be particularly challenging.
Osamah Sami, a 33-year-old Muslim living in Australia shares a dating story from when he was 19. Sami explains that after failing to pursue a young Anglo woman in year 12, he decided to change direction and pursue women from his mosque instead.
“I decided to focus on a place where I had a home ground advantage: the mosque – at least the young Muslim girls there understood me."
His is, “a story of how modern day Shiite Australian youth - namely me and a couple of friends – used an ancient ritual to our modern day advantage.”
Traditionally in Muslim culture, parents find a suitor for their son or daughter to marry. Many Muslim families in Australia however no longer abide by this tradition. A lot of young Muslims living in the West want to find love on their own terms, and so they’re thrust into the world of dating.
Young Muslims living in the West have attempted to figure out how best to tackle the dating world. One young woman, Humaira Mubeen who lives in America invented a ‘Muslim Tinder’ to help with the pursuit of love for Muslims in Western society. Other men and women have attempted to find their partner in a religious space.
“I decided to focus on a place where I had a home ground advantage: the mosque – at least the young Muslim girls there understood me,” Sami says in the SBS True Stories podcast.
It can be difficult for Muslims in Western countries to find a compatible partner because they are balancing their Islamic beliefs with their Western values. Sami explains how he used a 10-night ritual in the Islamic calendar as an opportunity to attract a beautiful girl from his community.
The occasion was Ashura, where mourners congregate at the mosque to commemorate the bloody slaying of their hero, Imam Hussain, the Prophet's grandson and his companions. Sami saw it as the perfect opportunity to meet girls.
“Six days after my 19th birthday, I hit the mosque to do some heavy duty mourning. My real aim though was to score the chat room nickname of Houda, the girl whose long eyelashes fed my new obsession."
While he managed to get a list of girls' chatroom names from his sister, the names were like number plates, because the girls needed to keep their identities secret. So, while he chatted to many girls online, he didn't know if any of them were Houda. A minor setback.
“That was enough fuel for me to start planning and plotting for next year. Guilt had never felt so good," Sami says of his failed attempt at dating as a teenager.
Actor, blogger, failed cricketer and "struggling" Muslim, Osamah Sami was shortlisted for the NSW Premiere’s Literary Award and Highly Commended at the Victorian Premiere’s Literary Awards for his memoir Good Muslim Boy. He shares his story, "Mosque, Mourning and Girls" in Episode 4, Season 2 True Stories | SBS Podcast