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“Sometimes, when you express that you want to be in monogamy, people look at you like that’s an unrealistic expectation,” she said.“They’re like, ‘Do you see all these women, and there are very few men? Khabir, of Elkins Park, who has a master’s degree from Syracuse University, even hired a private matchmaker for nine months until the counselor assigned to her conceded that race was part of her problem.Women in the Philadelphia Muslim community, which is primarily African American, may also face a double whammy: a dearth of educated men in communities ravaged by unemployment and incarceration, said Aneesah Nadir, whose observation is echoed in research by the Brookings Institution and Yale University.

It’s not a matter of, ‘Oh, I want to have two women.’ It’s a matter of no women should be left behind. If I’m 44, and I’m only looking at women who are 20 years younger than me, and I’m not considering women my age, that’s wrong.” At the same time, Aliya Khabir — special assistant at United Muslim Masjid and sister of Naeemah — sees many educated, financially independent women who prefer the extra free time and independence that polygyny provides.According to the 2015 Brookings Institution report, black women have the lowest rates of “marrying out” across race lines.“The women themselves, they would maybe be interested in someone from another cultural group,” said Nadir.But Zara Johnson, known as Zara J, founder of the private marriage network Black Muslim Singles Society, said she believed hers was the only one that specifically served African American Muslims.“It’s just not an industry where we’re represented or that we’ve really even taken the time to enter,” she said.

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