The convention, which has been going on for two decades, has earned the reputation of being “club ISNA.” Misha says that while you’re supposed to be getting closer to God, people are getting “down and dirty.” Naqeeb says there are definitely some lewd characters on the prowl looking to score.I’m told that these conferences have become so popular (and so sexually charged) because it’s like a Spring Break for Muslims.
Laila, who works in advertising, says that when she was in high school in the ‘90s, before the Internet and American pop culture infiltrated, people were more cautious.
“Even the most modern kids put a bit more thought into hookups,” she says.
Laila (again, not her real name), in her late 20s, tells me about the dating scene in Karachi, where her family is from and she lives now.
In the big city, it’s not rare for people to sneak around curfews and for Muslims to drink (though doing so is illegal).
Naqeeb Memon, a 30-year-old software consultant, was in attendance—those he was mostly keen to “network.” He tells me that when the ladies saw some “fresh meat,” or a new guy, that they liked, they pounced. And getting attention because of that.” Eid Prom doesn’t have a salacious reputation—at least, not yet.
And by “pounced,” he meant that they chatted him up. That’s left to the acronym-heavy events like ISNA (Islamic Society of North America).Still, something resembling dating does inevitably take place.While there’s no line in the Quran that explicitly says that dating is haram (Arabic for “sinful”), what happens in modern dating—an unchaperoned rendezvous between a man and a woman and everything after that—isn’t exactly condoned.He says that dating sites targeted at Muslims don’t really fit into the conservative interpretation of Islam. Things you couldn’t do in your neighborhood.” Arab Lounge has 1.3 million users, 65 percent of whom identify as Muslim—though those at the website say that number should actually be higher.While most users are in the United States, the site is booming in the Middle East and North Africa.Talk to young Muslim-Americans about dating today, and they’ll tell you that the hookup culture is a lot like Linked In.