T he business books tell you to follow your heart. It is 17 years since Adeem Younis took that advice and set up SingleMuslim.
Besides a desire to be his own boss, there was a more urgentimperative. The idea was we would get married. The assumption was that Younis would do that, too.
Younis was working part-time in a pizza place at the bottom of Westgate, where the traditional uphill Wakefield pub crawl begins of a Saturday night. In exchange for a couple of extra shifts he persuaded his boss to give him office space above the restaurant and he set up a rudimentary Muslim marriage website with a friend.
Immediately after it went live they got their first registration. The business started to grow slowly through word of mouth, mostly through student societies.
In the years since, then SingleMuslim. The UK site boasts nearly a million UK active users and the company is expanding internationally.
Traffic analysis suggests there are about 1.
Because it is in effect a marriage site rather than a dating site, it also claims a high rate of success. There have been 50, SingleMuslim.
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It has a staff of more than On Friday afternoon half the staff are out at prayers, the rest are winding down to go to the pub. Unfortunately the most prominent headlines featuring SingleMuslim.
The Old Bailey heard on Tuesday and Wednesday how Munir Mohammed, a British citizen of Sudanese origin, living in Derby, allegedly enlisted the help of Rowaida El-Hassan, a pharmacy graduate of University College London, for her knowledge of chemicals needed to make an explosive.
The pair, it was noted in court, and in the papers, had first met on SingleMuslim. On the site, Munir Mohammed had described himself as looking Single muslim matrimonial uk a wife and partner with whom to start a family.
Khan and Younis have been aware that the case was coming to court for a while.
When Mohammed and El-Hassan were first arrested the police asked to see what record of their relationship the company held. Their behaviour was quite normal on the site. They exchanged a few lovey-dovey messages and then they swapped WhatsApp addresses and that was that.
They have, they believe, done all they can to prevent any such radicalised liaisons. If a membership request comes in from an unstable country, Nigeria or Yemen, say, it is automatically blocked for vetting. We automate as much as we can, but if there is anything at all doubtful a human will always look at it upstairs.
When Younis originally set up his website, the problems came from fundamentalists. People would have seen their sister on there. Six months later, Younis says, the same auntie invited him back, this time he was offered tea and biscuits: Halal means being wholesome and right in your faith. In those cases, traditionally the mums or the grannies use the site Single muslim matrimonial uk do the matchmaking, Khan explains.
What the company mostly promotes, though, is the opportunity to broaden that search as far as possible. The case studies on the site highlight couples who have crossed national and racial barriers to marry.
There is an empowering impulse in this — and in the insistence that photographs must be full face. One morning in after a bit of trial and error he arrived in the office to announce.
His colleagues looked up from their keyboards, in mock alarm.