Honestly, the number of Facebook statuses, blog posts, and other online forums detailing the sad stories of American convert women taken in by unscrupulous Arabs and South Asians in Internet marriage scams has skyrocketed in the past two years. I could go on the usual rampage about how these Muslim men are sinning and committing a terrible transgression against their sisters, and how they'll answer to their Creator for their acts, etc. Or I could rationalize their foul behavior by explaining that employment and marriage prospects are abysmal in North Africa and South Asia, so desperation drives such men to use American Muslim women as a way out. But I think enough has been written about these dirtbag men (although the writing has come mostly from bloggers and scorned women, rather than from religious authorities whose duty it should be to intervene, alas, they find it far easier to turn a blind eye to the degradation of their so-called sisters).
Instead, I'd like to address the women who find themselves duped by Internet suitors from foreign lands: You bear plenty of responsibility for the situation. It's hard to be alone, sure, but does it really drive you to be so self deluded as to believe that some dude on the Internet, living 8,000 miles away, who is likely unemployed and without prospects, is really your soulmate? This yutz you've never met, who can hardly communicate in your language, who wants you to pay for an airline ticket and your own wedding, as well as funding and sponsoring his move to your country; is this the fella who you really believe loves you to distraction and can't live without you? Nonsense. You're not that stupid. And there's no need to be that desperate. There's more than likely already a man living right there in your own country who was just made for you. And if not, isn't it better to stay single than to be used, humiliated, sucked dry, and discarded? (If you answered no and find that it might be better to be all those things than to face the horror of being single and self-sufficient, read no further.)
So, some tips for those of you lost in the labyrinth of Muslim matrimonial sites who aren't sure how to spot a Green Card vulture:
- Does he live in your country? If no, block him immediately.
- If it's too late and you're already chatting up some dude who doesn't share your citizenship, has he professed his undying love for you? Have you been chatting less than a full year? If the answer to both questions is yes, block him immediately.
- Is he more than five years younger than you? If yes, he wants more than your bod; block him immediately.
- Does he look like an underwear model? If yes, there's no reason he can't find a woman in his own country. Block him immediately.
- Has he given you the sad story about how there are no jobs in his country? How there are absolutely no "good women" in his country? Block him immediately.
- Has he made promises about treating you like a queen and loving you to pieces and worshiping the dust under your feet, but said very little about how/where he intends to contribute to your support? Block him immediately.
- Still unsure? Block him immediately.
**Disclaimer: Although it should go without saying, I feel compelled to add--before someone comes along and yells at me for generalizing and slandering Moroccans and others, because her online romance with a foreigner has turned out well--that I understand that not all such relationships end badly. I concede that at least one in 37 million will work out beautifully.