Muslim dating apps like Beyond Chai and Minder are finding an increase in interest of late as “they cater to a generation hovering in between two norms — not interested in the customs their immigrant parents followed in the Muslim world, but also uninterested in finding a non-Muslim partner on a general-interest dating app” (per The Washington Post). There’s also another reason for the surge — the recent uptick with anti-Muslim sentiment in the country. “I think what happens in any community that’s under attack is people pull back into that community,” says Haroon Mokhtarzada, CEO of Minder (yes, a Muslim take on Tinder). “People kind of double down on their identity when it’s under attack…. ‘Maybe I wasn’t actually that serious about that. But I am Muslim. This is me. I need someone else who’s also proud to be part of my group.’”
Membership in the matchmaking service Beyond Chai is said to have doubled in the last six months. Sumayyah Baig says she signed up for the D.C. matchmaking service because she was looking for specific attributes in a partner versus what her family and friends were focusing on. “I didn’t care what nationality the person was. I just wanted them to have the same belief system.” Ms. Baig credits Beyond Chai for focusing both on faith and compatibility which ultimately led to her finding her husband. Explaining why she married a fellow Muslim, Ms Baig remarks: “I think that my life is based off of this empowerment that I’ve gotten from my faith.”
Though most of their clients are young adults, the online matchmakers say they’ve successfully paired off people of all ages and backgrounds (i.e. single parents, divorces, widowed grandparents). The services look for matches within their database of clients as well as non-clients which they gather from major Muslim conventions and partnering with other matchmaking services and Muslim organizations.