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“He was so excited that he started slacking off on his school work. It’s really bad.”Moe said he would allow his children, boys and girls, to date. “As long as they’re going out in public and not doing anything wrong.

When it comes to the girl, maybe I would like her boyfriend to come to my house first.”Moe noted that when it comes to dating, stricter standards are applied to girls in most families, where young women are more restricted than men. But parents would argue they’re doing it to protect their daughters,” he said.

The 19 year-old said the differences in Arab perception of dating create a “conflict” for the community’s youth, as they see their non-Arab peers engaging in affectionate relationships that are accepted by their community. It is wrong to deprive our young people of those feelings,” he said.

“Once they grow older and experience dating behind their parents’ back, they become totally consumed by that relationship.

And because of cultural customs and taboos it can be next to impossible to meet a single Arab of the opposite sex.

Arabs are a small minority in Western society (unless you happen to live in Dearborn, Michigan), which makes the selection pool that much smaller.

However, Zeinab, an 18 year-old Edsel Ford High School graduate, said the dissimilar treatment between males and females in the community is actually “sexism,” although her mother does not bar her from having a boyfriend.“When I met my boyfriend, I thought there’s no way my mother would approve of him because he’s Chaldean,” she said. But I told her after a few months, and she said she trusts me and she doesn’t mind.”However, Zeinab added that her mother still implemented limitations on her relationship.

“I have to come back home at a certain time; she is always calling, always worried that I might drink or have sex with him,” she explained. But these are the culture’s standards, and culture plays a major role in our lives. I feel like that’s what my parents used on me, and it is how I’m raising my children.”“If dating is to know the person and build commitment, then there is no problem with it,” she explained. The American perspective on dating is often sexual, and that’s the problem.” Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi, the spiritual leader of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights, said the version of dating that the “dominant culture” promotes is wrong and unhealthy to the concept of family.

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With the number of Arabs over there, the city is bound to adopt the culture.

In Dearborn's case, sometimes it seems it was adopted a bit too heavily.

“If one of my sons came home with flowers and a teddy bear on Valentine’s Day, I wouldn’t care, but if my daughter did, I would start questioning her,” Alia said. “That means that the male and female should meet in an environment where the family is present or somehow in public, so they do not have physical contact and a sexual relationship before marriage, which would be very destructive.

The relationship should be honest and pure.” Elahi questioned the purpose of the mainstream notion of dating, as promoted by Hollywood and the media, adding that dating “for fun” could lead to the destruction of the family, unplanned pregnancies, abortions and emotional turmoil.

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