Speed dating goes 'halal' in Muslim-majority Malaysia
By Emily Chow
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Dressed in a headscarf and full-length robe, 24 year-old Nurnadille Edlena takes notes intently as the man before her introduces himself.
The two are at Halal Speed Dating, a new matchmaking event in Kuala Lumpur that is helping Malaysian Muslims find partners in a largely conservative society where courtship is frowned upon and marriages are often arranged.
The dating service is halal, meaning permissible under Islamic law, as it is practiced with an Islamic twist: women speed daters must be chaperoned by a wali, or guardian until she gets married and who grants her the permission to do so.
"I brought my parents as they are the best people who can guide me to find someone," said Nurnadille.
"I'm focusing on finding someone who can willingly accept me for who I am."
Malaysia is a largely moderate Muslim country, where Islam is the official religion and ethnic Malay Muslims make up two thirds of the 30 million people.
Many young Malaysians meet as young people do in many places, including through the dating app Tinder and on Facebook, but dating is complicated for young Muslims in Malaysia, where public displays of affection and intimacy before marriage is strictly disapproved of.
Halal Speed Dating's founders say most of their clients hope to find a spouse. A client can shortlist up to three possible partners but can only negotiate marriage with one at a time, in accordance with Islamic rules. Continued...