And the reality is that meeting at the mosque can be challenging.“I don’t think other communities face the type of gender segregation our community faces, which makes it harder for young people to meet each other,” said Jessa.
But it has other features that will help Muslims navigate the messy world of online dating, allowing people to indicate their denomination, level of religious devotion and whether they’re looking for someone who is more liberal or conservative. The app already has more than 3,000 users and 6,700 matches.
For some users, these factors might not matter at all, said Jessa, and they can leave those fields blank. The mechanism is similar to Salaam Swipe, with one major difference: Minder will vet those who want to join.“If someone is obviously not Muslim, then that’s something that we don’t want to approve,” Mokhtarzada said.
He’s not the only one to appreciate the gap in the app market. He also wants to “keep it classy” by screening users with photos he says are more appropriate for Tinder, like shirtless guys flexing their muscles.
Muslims looking for “the one” who are tired of the heavy-duty screening they must do on mainstream dating apps like Tinder and Hinge finally have options created for their needs.
A Canadian is jumping on the trend of smartphone dating apps that target particular religious groups, competing with recently built apps for Muslim singles such as Minder and the soon-to-launch Crescent.
Vancouverite Khalil Jessa, 26, created Salaam Swipe to bridge the divides faced by Muslims in the West.“We are very geographically divided across the country,” said Jessa.“Our communities are very divided ethnically as well.”He wanted to give Muslims an avenue to meet outside of the traditional routes of via families, which in his view can limit the pool of potential partners.Jessa predicts users are more likely to find serious relationships using apps such as his, instead of general dating apps such as Tinder.“The people who are coming to our app have already decided that their religious identity or cultural identity really matter to them,” he said.A recent IBISWorld report on Canadian dating services projects that online dating will dominate the 3 million industry in 2015, with mobile dating coming in second.But the report notes that with the rise of mobile, there has been decline of dating websites tailored to specific ethnic, religious and age groups.So it may be unsurprising there would be a new generation of apps to fill the void.