Culture Lesson – Speed Date A Muslim

Speed Date A Muslim is an environment where everyone can come together and inquire and walk away a little bit more informed.


Unique speed dating event in Shepparton aims to break down religious prejudices

We’re speaking to all forms of prejudice … in a platform that’s an environment where everyone can come together and inquire and walk away a little bit more informed. — Betul Tuna

When Shepparton’s Betul Tuna was asked what Islam meant to her, she did not know how to answer the question. But the Turkish woman, and integral part of the Ethnic Council of Shepparton, is indeed Islamic.

“It’s because we’ve blurred the lines between religion and culture,” she said.

Ms Tuna will this month endeavour to distinguish those lines through a conversation session event — Speed Date a Muslim. It is the first time the initiative will be organised regionally.

The event is the brainchild of social activist Hannah Assafiri and is celebrating its first anniversary this year after starting in Melbourne. “There’s more and more of a divisive conversation when it comes to Islam,” Ms Assafiri said.

Ms Assafiri said it was often Islamic women who bore the brunt of these conversations and hence about 10 women will sit on the dating panel this month at The Deck in Maude St Mall.

“We’re speaking to all forms of prejudice … in a platform that’s an environment where everyone can come together and inquire and walk away a little bit more informed,” she said. “There is a high concentration of Muslims in Shepparton — given it’s a multicultural hub — and when there’s tension and hostility, it can be heightened.”

Ms Tuna, who grew up in Shepparton, said the panel would be a selection of people from different cultures within the religion, something people often failed to understand. “There are two key messages; the first is that we all live our faith individually. Don’t put us all in the one box,” she said. “The second is how extremism and what is portrayed in the media is more of a male problem than an Islamic problem.”

With the event selling out in just 48 hours, Ms Tuna said they hoped to target those whose views aligned more negatively towards the Islamic culture and religion. “We’re here; we’re not that scary,” she said.

“This isn’t about converting them to Islam. This is about converting them to humanity.”

For more information about the event, search for the Facebook page ‘Speed Date a Muslim’. Keep an eye out for future sessions and to be put on a waiting list, phone Betul Tuna at the Ethnic Council on 5831 2395.

 

Building better understanding: A unique event aims to start a conversation this month at The Deck. The Ethnic Council’s Betul Tuna has been involved in bringing Speed Date a Muslim to Shepparton. Picture: Holly Curtis

Article and image courtesy Shepparton News

 

 

10 November 2016

Translate »