Psychology experts say speed dating is so successful because most people make up their minds whether they like someone within the first 15 to 30 seconds of meeting them.Among more than 80 young Muslims who took part in the Asian Speed Dating launch night, at Soho's Opium Bar, was Perveen Achtar, 32.

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The host seats the participants at numbered tables and after a whirlwind conversation, each man moves on to the next table.

People who indicate on special memo cards that they would like to see each other again are given each other's email addresses within 48 hours.

It is then up to them whether they want to make contact and take things further.

Arranged marriages, strictly-controlled family introductions and chaperones are familiar territory for some young Muslims. A new approach to dating has been launched by a couple of young Asian entrepreneurs who set out to introduce young professional Muslims to more prospective partners in one evening than they may meet in a lifetime.

"We are not working against tradition, but are essentially taking the burden away from families," said Ashok Gupta, the man behind Asian Speed Dating.

"We are still encouraging Muslims to meet other Muslims.

"The main problem is many don't drink, so don't do the traditional dating thing of going to pubs and clubs to meet someone new.î The 26-year-old Cambridge graduate decided to set up the company with friend Maha Khan after realising how popular speed dating had become since its introduction to this country three years ago.

Ms Khan said: "We believe Muslim speed dating will soon become the most popular way of meeting new people.

"For too long we have relied on tedious family introductions and embarrassing singles events.