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Culture

Lonely Hearts Revisited

More and more devout Muslims living in Germany are placing adverts in the hope of finding the right partner for life.

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The search for Mr. Right usually bears fruit after poring over adverts in magazines, newspapers or websites

"Muslim woman, German citizen, 48, Biologist, is looking for devout Muslim man....". An increasing number of faithful Muslims living in Germany are looking for partners via advertisments.

Whether magazine, newspaper or website, the number is rising - a development Fatima Özoguz from the website Muslim-Wedding says is due to the increasing differences between devout Muslim men and women living in Germany.

According to Özoguz, religious Muslim men looking for a partner are generally ten to twenty years younger than Muslim women in the same situation. Many have been married before, and turn to explicit advertisments, in which they name those characteristics they have otherwise missed in previous relationships.

After two bust marriages, Angelika decided to make a last attempt at finding a husband. The 55-year-old converted to Islam many years ago. "I knew I was looking for a Muslim man, but my expectations were simply not satisfied". She eventually found an advertisment which caught her attention and met her standards in "Al-Islam", a magazine for German-speaking muslims.

According to Fatima Özoguz, it is especially difficult for those who converted to Islam as adults, or were born in Germany. "In Islamic countries, possible marriage candidates are found with the help of family and friends".

In Germany, German-born devout Muslims are more isolated, especially those who do not live within the community, and have to look for dates without any family assistance.

Hochzeit in Kabul

A Kabul resident decorates a car for wedding in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Friday Oct. 19, 2001. Allied bombing on Afghanistan continued Friday for the harboring of suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden. (AP Photo/Amir Shah)

By placing an ad, men and women can list those characteristics essential to an envisioned perfect relationship.

"Most of the people who place an ad on our website are looking for a serious relationship with someone who lives in accordance with Islamic traditions, someone to have a family with", Özoguz says.

Islamic traditions, including clothing, play a prominent role in the advertisment text. Some Muslims value Burqas or veils, but not every Muslim woman wants to wear one. These, and other differences essential to a working devout Muslim relationship can therefore be sorted out, before a meeting of any kind is arranged.

Apart from looks, hobbies and age, religion and tradition make are important criteria in the ads on the Muslim-Wedding website.

But they also differ clearly from other matrimonials in daily papers, websites and magazines - due to the sheer honesty in the texts. Various ads list reasons for diappointments in previous relationships, and hopes for change in future ones.

"Muslim woman from Iran, 15 years in Germany, divorce 3 years ago due to husband who was alchoholic....", one ad says.

About 3 million Muslims live in Germany.

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