Sunday, December 30

Of Mosques and Matrimonials Click for more info

My local, The Qur'ani Markuz Trust or South Woodford Mosque as it's more endearingly known by its congregation, has always been a bit forward with its community initiatives. They're the type of organisation that sends Christmas cards out to the locals, arranges football and biking activities and provides copies of the Quran on MP3.

They've also been doing the whole matrimonial thing for a while by maintaining a list that manages to attract people from all over London, but this weekend they went a practical step further and actually hosted a matrimonial event.

Due to other commitments I arrived late, but apparently the afternoon consisted of a talk on why we should all pull our fingers out and get married, some people standing up at the front and introducing themselves, everyone mingling over food and stuff and finally everyone sitting in a circle and introducing themselves. I arrived in time for that last bit.

Apart from the inevitable awkwardness from some, I thought the whole thing was pretty much a success. As far as I know no one got married, but as the start of a wider initiative it has bags of potential and most importantly was quite fun. There were some complaints about there being more women than men (as usual), and some discussion to do with us holding such an event in a mosque, most of which was positive.

Personally, I think we should be aware that people in a mosque will act like they're in a mosque (so there were no rude jokes from me today, no sir) and it should be seen as a way for adults to introduce each other rather than govern the whole process up to a marriage itself. In this way it's less of a preferred or exclusive way for a Muslim to meet a partner and is as good as any other strategy any of us could (and should) have.

But on the whole I think it's something I will participate more in; there was some talk about organising some kind of speed dating variant for the next activity, and if anything will lift my reservations about that kind of thing it's that it'd be held in a mosque.