Jokers, Doubters, and Everything In-Between

After spending some time mulling over things, I still don't understand what's so funny or wrong about an in-person Muslim marriage event. Yet these two ends of the "WHAT?!" spectrum seem to be where most of those in opposition to or misunderstanding of such events stand. And now that there will be two such events in Calgary within a span of 20 days, the jokers and doubters have come out into the open. I'd like to explore both personality types in some detail.

The Jokers

There's certainly been so shortage of "LOLs" posted with regards to the two marriage events being marketed, as well as some insensitive comments that make Muslims out to seem like anti-social, awkward and unable to communicate with members of the opposite sex. First of all, this is quite stereotypical and most Muslims in their 20s and 30s raised in the West HAVE grown up communicating with the opposite sex. And sure, while they haven't perhaps spoken for the purpose of marriage, neither have the million other non-Muslims out there who have to do the same when they meet someone they are interested in. One person joked about how CIMAP (Calgary Islamic Marriage Assistance Program) will be as socially awkward as a Bollywood movie where the two lead characters constantly dodge one another by hiding behind trees. I was personally offended by this comment given that I've been on the planning committee since the inception of the event and have seen how hard our group of six planners works to make things run smoothly. Both prior events had no shortage of chatting and laughter, allowing for comfort to take over and the chance to get to know other singles to ensue. So just because something may not have been done before, or that you've heard of, doesn't mean that it's a joke or funny. There are Muslims in this city who know how to put on professional and well-run events. And there are Muslims who place their faith in such events since it's much more forward thinking than stalking potential spouses out on Facebook, at the mosque, or at downtown oil and gas companies!

The Doubters

I should call this group the Muslim Police, since in other words, they disagree about such an event and extend many stereotypes towards participants. Comments have been made about CIMAP promoting dating and continuing relationships without parental involvement (where the heck did THIS come from?!), both of which are false. Some call it speed dating, which it most definitely is NOT (we don't do 1:1 rotations). Others find the idea of mature 20-somethings and 30-somethings finding their own spouse appaling. While still others think it's haram for mature 20-somethings and 30-somethings to speak to the opposite gender in...da da dummmmm...PUBLIC! Clearly, the doubters aren't the ones who sign up for such marriage events, since it just isn't their cup of chai. And in the grand scheme of things, Calgary is so behind in terms of pulling something like this together, the rest of North America has been doing this for a while. So with this group, I'm content to ignore them since hey, if you're not going to do something about a social issue or you jump to conclusions without having all the facts, then there's nothing that can be done to change your mind I suppose.

So yup, that's all I have to say. These two groups crop up every time we advertise another matrimonial event, and while it's frustrating, it's definitely not the end of the world. Besides, it's easy to sit behind a laptop screen and type out negative or sarcastic comments. But if both types of people were the ones planning and running these events, I don't think they would ever joke about it or doubt it in the future.

But then again, you can't please everyone! And we know what our (i.e. event planners) intentions are, and with Allah's will, things will once again run smoothly. 

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