140 single Gujarati Muslims joined together with their parents on the 3rd November in The Royal Banqueting Suite, Preston, in hopes to meet a potential spouse.
Despite the event getting cancelled by religious leaders, the Father and daughter duo speedily decided on a new date to make their event happen. Former architect and father-of-four Yusuf Mitha, 57, and Salford University student Aisha Mitha, 21, created the first speed dating Gujarati Muslim matrimonial event in Preston.
The event was initially due to take place on Saturday October 13 however because of the criticism that the proposal had received from some of the Gujarati community religious leaders, the event got pushed back. Muslim Alims from Preston and Blackburn had threatened to issue a fatwa against it.
The property management student said: “They assumed the speed dating was one big mingle of boys and girls which is not allowed in Islam but in fact it was a controlled environment and almost like interviews between boys and girls to see if there was any compatibility and their parents were present too.”
Despite the setbacks, Aisha and Yusuf still pushed the event. Aisha said: “The event was fantastic! We thoroughly enjoyed it and it was quite a success! We had over 40 matches across 23 couples or so on the night of the 21-40 year olds.”
There is no telephone or e-mails exchanged at the event instead the singles write their thoughts on cards that are collected at the end. Females are seated and the males talk to each girl for ten minutes.
Aisha said: “Due to religious reasons people within the Gujarati community tend to shy away from such things. Our community is very tight knit and due to the Islamic scholars sometimes frowning upon the mingling of boys and girls many people have not had the courage to have such an event. What they fail to understand is that without such events it is very difficult for people to find partners!”
The 21 year old said: “Within the Gujarati community there are many young people looking for a partner and with our hectic work and family lives it is very difficult to meet new people, and gets harder every year.”
Aisha explained that other Muslim communities have events like Pakistani speed dating but there aren’t many for the Gujarati’s. The event will be held 3-4 times a year.