I came across this video the other day, and, welp, see for yourself (transcript).
To get this out of the way: Karim is not a “Muslim name.” It is an Arabic name that Muslims name their children, since Karim is one of the 99 names of Allah, but the word and name predate Islam.
As for her reason to not date this Karim, obviously, since most Muslims don’t behead people or beat their wives, not wanting to associate with people like that is a bad reason to not want to date a Muslim.
There are some good reasons why this woman might want to walk away, though, that aren’t based on less-warranted stereotypes, reasons that have to do with the realities of the ways in which sexism, misogyny, sex-negativity, patriarchy, and purity culture manifest themselves Muslim-dominated cultures.
In short, mid-life crises come early and hit harder for non-practicing Muslim men.
I have seen this play out so many times in my own family and community that it no longer surprises me. There are men who spend their youth in Western countries like England, Canada, or the US and abuse the sexism of their family’s double-standards and low expectations for men to its fullest. Since, generally speaking, male children are not as carefully guarded and watched over as female ones, young Muslim men have the opportunity to far more easily date, have sex, and get involved with non-Muslim women than young Muslim women do. Some of the men will go out partying, drinking, clubbing — you name the haraam thing, they do it (except for maybe eating pork).
However, since these men still identify as Muslims, the dissonance eventually catches up with them. Add increasing pressure from families to wed the “right” sort of person (i.e. the same pressure their sisters felt much more acutely and from a much younger age) and this means an eventual return to fulfilling filial expectations. They will ditch their youthful “sinful” lifestyle and all those associated with it in favor of an arranged marriage to an often much-younger, presumably virgin woman from “back home.” Their families rejoice that their sons have finally done the “right thing”, even if it means dumping any number of non-Muslim girlfriends to attain that goal.
I know a lot of non-Muslim women who have been unceremoniously dumped after years of a long-term relationship with a Muslim man to clear the way for him to marry a teenager deemed appropriate by his family. Their reward for open-mindedness to someone of a minority, demonized faith was heartbreak. Being tossed aside like so much old garbage after years of being with someone and planning a future with them is not what most people have in mind for their lives.
The return-to-tradition brides often don’t fare much better, either. If they are from overseas, the adjustment to life in the United States can be difficult. Whether they are foreign or Western, their husbands might treat them resentfully as symbols of all the “fun” they left behind. I personally know of cases where the Muslim husband continued dating his non-Muslim girlfriend after marriage and, when caught and confronted, claimed that he was “trying the whole marriage thing out.” Unbeknownst to his wife, he was testing the waters, not fully committed to a marriage.
Granted, non-Muslim girlfriends of Muslim men have a much higher chance of marrying their partners than non-Muslim boyfriends of Muslim women. In Islam, male believers are allowed to marry Jewish and Christian women but a marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man is considered invalid (though there is a loophole). However, the reason for this is that Muhammad presumed that (1) the reason for marriage is to increase the population of the Muslim ummah and (2) the husband determined the religion of his children, not the wife. The implication is that women in such marriages have little to no say in the religion to be taught to the children, which is a rather bitter pill to swallow.
To return to the video, because Karim approached Denise in a very heteronormative way and she responded in kind, I’m going to assume that they’re typical straight people who want to date and eventually marry. He may be all sweet-talk with her now, but if they were to have a relationship, her beauty might not be enough to prevent him from retreating to tradition, either in terms of his long-term relationship goals or any future children they might have.