This post was written by guest contributor Maria Salman.
Marriage: The one word on the tip of the tongue for many young Muslims. The difficulties in searching for the elusive One experienced by the Muslim diaspora is a phenomenon that is well documented. Google the phrase “Muslim marriage crisis,” and a substantial number of hits comes up – especially about the dearth of eligible Muslim bachelors and the struggles of over-30 professional Muslim women in finding a suitable mate who is on par with their educational background. Judging by the flooded comment sections in almost every blog post or article discussing the search for a spouse, the topic definitely hits a nerve amongst the Muslim community living in the “West.”
Recently, a friend sent me a link for a BBC Three documentary titled Strictly Soulmates, a four part series that aired in February 2012. The series briefly chronicles the adventures of “religious” young British singletons as explained by this introductory summary on its YouTube page:
“Looking for love is tough at the best of times and it can be even harder when your pool of potential partners is small. Welcome to the world of being young, single and religious. This is looking for love as it’s rarely been seen on TV before – with religion in play there are a whole new set of rules and it can be seriously tough to find ‘the one’. Strictly Soulmates takes a fun, entertaining and emotional look at the real life trials and tribulations of a group of singletons trying to find their perfect match from four different religions: Evangelical Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish.”
Reading this synopsis, I was both intrigued and apprehensive about watching the documentary, particularly the Muslim episode. Intrigued because the documentary showcased individuals navigating primarily religious expectations while finding a life partner – reflecting processes that my friends and I are currently undergoing as well. Apprehensive because BBC Three does not exactly have the best history in representing Muslims and tends to develop simplistic caricatures of Muslims – as evidenced by their Make Me a Muslim documentary so ingeniously critiqued on MMW recently by wood turtle. [Read more...]