Extremely British Muslims: Channel 4 documentary follows the difficulties of dating as a Muslim

Ben Travis
Dating game: Channel 4's Extremely British Muslims shows how hard it can be to find a partner: Channel 4/Rory Mulvey

If you’re a fan of Channel 4’s First Dates and The Undateables, there’s a surprisingly similar style at play in the opening episode of new show Extremely British Muslims.

Playfully titled ‘All the Single Muslims’ (you have Beyonce in your head now, don’t you), the first of three instalments about life for Birmingham-based Muslims is all about the perils of dating.

For some young Muslims, the cultural sensitivities around pre-marital relationships and alcohol makes it tricky to throw yourself out there.

Then there’s finding the right match for you – is your faith a fundamental religion, or more a cultural concern?

“You’re not allowed to have a boyfriend,” explains 24 year-old Bella. “We can’t really go to bars and meet people, or clubs or anything like that. If they’re going to meet up they have a chaperone with them as well.

“There really shouldn’t be [any physical contact]. Not too much, anyway.”

As some choose to decline arranged marriages, there are other ways to meet other eligible bachelors – including specialist dating services.

“This is the problem,” says 30 year-old Nayera, who’s on the lookout for a husband at a dating event.

“You’ve got these two cultures, and trying to find the common ground between them can be a discussion you need to have, I think.”

Will a match-making event for Muslims help her find someone she connects with on a personal and faith-based level?

Channel 4’s film is warm and funny, but still gets across the awkward dilemma that many young Muslim Brits will find themselves in today.

Channel 4, 10pm