Virtual Marriage Brokers
"Until recently, matchmakers had a corner here on the marriage-brokering market, navigating the complex ties of kin and tribe to arrange the nuptials of two young people who are not in love or may even have never met. Their services were invaluable in a culture where it is taboo for two young people to court in public or even meet alone before marriage.
"But now Omani youth are increasingly logging on to social networking websites to find romance, and even a spouse. Popular sites such as Facebook allow them to sidestep matchmakers - typically elderly women - giving them the privacy and freedom to cultivate relationships that sometimes lead to marriage.
"Reem al Hinai, 27, a customer service executive working for a telecommunications company in Muscat, said: 'If you cannot flirt face-to-face because of parental restrictions, then Facebook can do it for you at a distance. In some cases, it leads to marriage to a person of your choice.'
"Ms al Hinai met her husband 18 months ago on Facebook. They logged on and 'talked' for hours every day before they met secretly three months later at a friend's house. They were married seven months later...
"Statistics from Oman's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority show more than a third of Oman's internet users, or 2.5 million web subscribers, have a Facebook account."
The article didn't say whether there were any actual internet dating sites with a large Omani presence.