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The pairs then spent three minutes chatting, at the end of which the men moved down a seat to talk to the next woman. For traditionally minded Muslims, families are intimately involved in the selection of a mate from the start.
In the course of two hours, there were to be 27 of these three-minute rounds, along with a dinner, and then a “social hour,” where they could mingle more freely. Such a scenario was playing out a few yards away, where Rocky, a neurosurgeon from Chicago, was being prepped by his sister and two of her friends. “ ‘ Rocky, a big, tall guy in a gray suit with no tie, laughed.
“My sinuses are cleared.” Kadir, 35, was sitting on a bench outside a ballroom at the Renaissance Washington hotel, surrounded by several hundred single Muslim men and women.
As they sat on a small stage, about 400 men and women wishing to copy their success sat before them, waiting for the three-minute rotations to begin. “Brothers and sisters,” he beseeched them, “if you are here for the matrimonial, please go in.” Then the doors closed.
Outside, the moderator, a woman named Nida in a white blazer, was giving her volunteers their marching orders. Organizers had left pieces of paper with suggested questions on some of the tables. One woman said afterward that her favorite question of the night was “What is your favorite vegetable? For the last half-hour, the ballroom doors were left open.
“It’s ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ and there’s no hard feelings,” she said.
The couple were in Washington to speak at Saturday’s banquet. We don’t want that to happen.” Kadir and Rocky were among the last to go in. ” Rocky’s sister said to her friends as she trailed behind her brother. ” A short while later, a volunteer waded into the throng of stragglers outside the ballroom, his hands clasped.