Dinner With Your Muslim Neighbor
Thank you for visiting my site and wanting to learn more about the Dinner With Your Muslim Neighbor initiative. I am so excited to be able to share with you this special project we have worked on for many months. While still in the early phases, with much work and development to be done, I believe we can reach our goal of motivating communities across this great nation to come together over dinner and discuss the ‘hard’ stuff, get to know one another better and show those spreading hate that love and understanding will prevail <3
How it Started:
I began these dinners with my husband, Hussein in late January 2016. I believe that food is a bridge to understanding and inspired by my faith, I wanted to use my ability of creating dishes for something greater.
During my time on MasterChef, I had received some hateful tweets from strangers who were judging who I was as a person based on how I dressed and presented as a Muslim Woman who wears Hijab. After watching the news one evening, I was saddened that we, as Americans, have allowed the presidential candidacy to be filled with hate. I took the negative experiences and decided to do something positive.
My goal was to dispel the misconceptions may people have, give insight into our day to day lives as American Muslims, create a better sense of community and understanding and share a meal with those around me.
American Muslims share and support the same freedoms we all cherish, including the freedom to practice our faith. American Muslims believe in the right and freedom of all Americans to live and worship in their own way. By breaking bread together, we can create relationships that are more powerful than any hate spewing candidate can spread. We can make a difference in our communities and our country, by coming together and understanding one another. We are in this journey of life, together.
How To Host A Dinner:
- Begin with an open heart and mind. Set your intention <3
- Educate, prepare and enlighten your self first on the inner workings of your faith and as an American. Prepare to be challenged
- Invite your neighbors, colleagues and members of your community. It helps to have a diverse crowd, so you can have diverse conversation 🙂
- Plan your menu and prepare as much as you can ahead of time. I recommend serving family style or buffet because as the host you want to be engaged in conversation and not working on the food. You can always order pizza (because we all love pizza <3)
- Have fun! This is meant to build relationships and community. You should enjoy your time with your neighbors 🙂
- What to Muslims believe and practice?
This is a great place to start because there are so many misconceptions.
- Talk about your day to day and accomplishments!
*Over 10,000 American Muslims serve in our nation’s armed forces and many have made the ultimate sacrifice.
*There are about 50,000 American Muslim medical doctors are saving lives everyday!
*Hundreds of thousands of American Muslims nationwide are community volunteers who, inspired by their faith, volunteer countless hours to making their communities a better place.
*A 2009 Gallup Poll on American Muslims found that American Muslim women are the second mostly highly educated religious group of women in the USA.
- Ask your guests to share what they know about Islam and build from there.
- Ask about the faith traditions of your guests!
We found that we have so much more in common than differences!
For more information about Islam:
Islam Fact Check
More to come! If you are interested in helping develop the guide to hosting these dinners, please leave a comment with your contact information!
Thank you kindly,
You are wise beyond your years. Many thanks for all you are doing.
Thank you so much for your kind words and support!!
Soo proud of you <3
Thank you so much, Haneen! Miss you <3
Love this, thank you for sharing. I was inspired by your original post about this and decided to auction off a Ramadan iftar dinner experience at my kids school. A beautiful family won it and we really had a wonderful evening. Would love to do it again and I am willing to help with your guide if needed. Keep up the great work!!
Thats so wonderful, Maya! I am so glad you were able to do that 🙂
Hi Amanda – I just read about this on the Stranger. What a great idea and congratulations on doing it! I wanted to reach out because my maternal grandfather’s last name is Saab – he moved from Lebanon to the US in the 30s. And I absolutely LOVE food. I wonder if we are related 🙂
Hi Beth! Thank you so much for reaching out and for your kind words 🙂
Saab is my married name but do wonder too if we are related! Small world <3
Hi Amanda— I read about this program on the Stranger and wanted to reach out! I think it’s fantastic that you’re doing this. I’m a Catholic in south Seattle, blessed to be part of a very progressive and diverse parish, and I’m actually curious if you know of any Muslim community members in south Seattle who are considering hosting a meal like this. I’d love to join if so. (I’m trying to deepen my knowledge of Islam to better speak up against Islamophobia and honor the richness, humility, and spiritual strength I’ve seen in the Islamic faith.) If you’re trying to have this process happen organically— i.e. let your Muslim readers reach out to those already in their community— I understand. But if you’re able to connect me to anyone in our part of the city, I’d be very grateful!
Hi Jay! Thanks so much for reaching out! I really appreciate it. We are working on scaling the dinners soon! Ill post on here when we are ready to launch, so everyone who is interested can participate if they so choose.
Best to you,
Kudos to you, Amanda, on this important endeavor! I live in Bellingham, and have wanted to connect with local Muslims to learn how I can support Muslim culture and identity in the US. All the best!
Thank you so much, Erika! I really appreciate your kind words and support <3
Peace and blessings!
Hey Amanda I’m Fatima and am a big fan of you since seeing you on master chef I recently found your real Instgram because I was following a fake one for a long time I’m from Yemen,Sanna and I live in Texas I recently joined culinary arts at my school and I have cooking talents but I don’t get along with people in class am the quite type but I want to be an outgoing person without being embarrassed! Can you give me advise please!! Much love
Thank you so much for your kind message and support-I appreciate it! I wish you all the best in your studies and cooking adventures! If you’re shy and want to make more friends, it may be easier to talk to one person versus a whole group. If you notice you have something in common with someone you can start a conversation that way. Or maybe you like someones sweater, you can comment on that. I hope it helps! I wish you much success and light 😀
I hadn’t thought about how unusual this was until I had a recent conversation with my brother but my midwestern Scandinavian mom really embraced the food traditions of many of our international neighbors from their time in married student housing at the University.