SHAFAQNA -Â Not a fan of arranged marriages and introductions, but still want to marry within your Muslim culture? Thereâ€™s an app for that.
Salaam Swipe is a Tinder-style app that lets young Muslims meet and get to know others within their culture, without the pressure of being set up by parents, aunts, and uncles.
The app was created by 26-year-old Surrey native Khalil Jessa, and is set to launch publicly Wednesday.
It mimics Tinder in many aspects â€” you swipe right if you like, left if you donâ€™t â€” but also has a few twists of its own. Some of these features include being able to filter potential matches by denomination, religiosity, or outlook. There is an incognito mode, which filters out any online friends or connections for more privacy in your search for love.
If two users swipe right on each other, a messaging window is opened and they can begin communicating.
Jessa said he started putting together the groundwork for the app a year ago when he realized how difficult it was to meet other young, eligible Muslims in everyday life.
â€œThese types of swiping apps have become normalized in society and being a young Muslim, if I want to look for someone in my community, itâ€™s really difficult,â€ he said.
Dating is not a common concept within the Muslim culture due to beliefs around gender mixing. However, matchmaking is seen as respectable and is highly regarded.
â€œBeing the person to bring people together is seen as a very noble thing to do,â€ Jessa said. â€œWe donâ€™t promote ourselves as a dating app, weâ€™re a matching app.
â€œWe just help people get together and meet each other.â€
Traditionally, parents or relatives of a young Muslim individual will trade photographs and other descriptive information with the parents or relatives of another young eligible Muslim person. If there is a possible compatible match, the parents or relatives will set up an introduction for the pair.
Jessa said his app hopes to replicate that same matchmaking process, with the additional benefits of allowing young Muslims more control and privacy over their own potential matches.
â€œWhat weâ€™re doing is breaking down the barriers that exist, that make it difficult for young Muslims to meet each other,â€ he said.
Where it does differ from Tinder, however, is that the users on Salaam Swipe are looking for a very specific outcome: marriage.
â€œTheyâ€™re looking for someone who shares a spiritual or cultural identity, so the connections will already be deeper,â€ Jessa said. â€œMy philosophy behind the app is to capture the diversity of the Muslim world.â€
The app will be available for iPhones via the Apple Store beginning on Wednesday. An Android version is being developed and will launch in the future.