Dinner With Your Muslim Neighbor
Last weekend, Hussein and I hosted our first installment of Dinner With You Muslim Neighbor. We invited, friends, colleagues, and religious leaders from other faith groups, to join us in our home (well the common area of our condo) for food fun and dialogue!
The idea came to me, as I sat on the couch watching the news after work one evening. I was frustrated by the misrepresentation and flat out lies that were being broadcasted to millions after my faith! I decided that I needed to do more, to be more available, open and welcoming of any and all questions from the people in my life. We often get so caught up in the day in and day out and never stop to realllly get to know the people around us.
I had previously seen a post by my friend Amnah of Little Life Of Mine and was inspired by the theme of ‘I am Your Muslim Neighbor’. (Side note: Amnah is awesome and super creative).
I shared a post on my thoughts for the dinner on Facebook. It was well received and many expressed their interest in joining! I actually had to turn people away (so sorry! I am so humbled that you wanted to join us and will have another dinner soon). I made it “official” with a lovely little design from Karama.
The evening started everyone gathering and mingling. Hussein welcomed our guests and shared our thoughts and intentions behind this dinner. We enjoyed dinner together (menu below), and opened the discussion for questions.
I want to express my heartfelt love and appreciation for everyone who joined us. Your friendship means so much to Hussein and I and we cherish these relationships!
I am also grateful that so many people are encouraged to have their own #DinnerWithYourMuslimNeighbor!!! yay!
Some questions I received:
How do have this type of dinner? Invite people who have questions about Islam to enjoy some delicious food with you and your family. Food really brings people together.
Who did you invite? We invited our colleagues, friends and some strangers that we met on the internet (these were trusted internet friends that we had gotten to know over time-stay safe). 🙂
All my friends already know about Islam, should I still have a dinner? Yes, it helps create a safe, intentional space for dialogue and understanding. Also, it would be good to ask your friends to bring someone you don’t know with them!
Why did you decide to have this dinner? With all the negativity around Islam in the media, we decided we wanted to share our true Islam with those around us.
Any tips for having this type of dinner? Start with an intention to please God and to do good. Be comfortable with being vulnerable and reach out to your community for support around planning.
During our conversation, we came to focus on our similarities (of which there are many) and not on differences (which are so few). It was wonderful to come to this place so naturally in our discussion 🙂
It was a beautiful evening and I look forward to many more dinners in the future, God willing 🙂
Masya Allah, sukses ya Amanda! Sukses means good luck in Bahasa Indonesia hehe 🙂
Thank you so much! Salaam 🙂 -Amanda
Thank you for doing this. I used to have Muslim neighbors and had many meals with them, learned much and enjoyed many cups of tea. (She makes the best tea with milk and honey.) I do not know how to put it exactly but it was so peace filling to learn the truth as opposed to what is preached in the media.
Thank you for sharing, Kay! I appreciate it 🙂 -Amanda
Thank you so much!! 🙂
This is such an awesome idea i think i messaged you on snapchat… i would love to do something like this for my neighbors since i don’t know them all.
Thank you Rasha! You have been entered
I think this is a wonderful idea and appreciate what you are doing. I worry about my Muslim neighbors with all of the horrible things that are being said in our politics right now. I am an atheist and left Christianity a decade ago. I understand in some small way the hate that is generated by those who insist we have faith of their origin. I have experienced much shunning for leaving my faith. I am okay and good-without-a-god. Would a person like myself be accepted by my Muslim neighbors? I also produce burlesque show which is pretty much against every faith group. At any rate your food looks wonderful and appreciate what you are doing. Keep believing that some of us care and are absolutely appalled by what the GOP front runners say about Muslims. Take care.
Hi Shana! As a Muslim, I believe all people are good and can do good regardless of their faith. You must definitely are accepted by my family. Would love to have you join us at our next dinner! <3
Our family would like to host. We are humanists who were first Catholics. How can we be “matched” to a Muslim neighbor?
Hi Lee Ann! My husband and I would love to join your family 🙂 We are in the Seattle area. If you would like to meet with muslims who live in your neighborhood, I would suggest reaching out and inviting them 😀
Love your idea! When I travel around the world, I love to share a meal with somebody local. I always say, the best way to learn and understand another culture is to eat together and have conversation. I wish more people would make the effort to get to know people of other cultures.
This is such a great idea Amanda!! I would love to be a part of a dinner as would I’m sure my friends. If there is ever an opportunity I would love to know more about how to become involved. I have a group of friends (all nurses and doctors working in Renton) that try to gather for big home-cooked dinners or interesting dinners out. All the best!
Hi Angie! That would be wonderful. Do you have regular gatherings? Maybe My husband and I can join for a dinner and have conversation with your group of friends! <3 Let me know! You can email me directly at [email protected]
Amanda, we’ve met. I’m a nurse in the Birth Center. Remember, I recognized you from Master Chef??? Anyways, I LOVE that you did this! This is how we break down walls.
Hi Stacy!! Thank you so much! I agree, we need more unity between faiths and communities <3 Hope you are well!
Good Evening, We are Jason and Teresa. Just regular folks that heard about your idea and have a genuine interest in knowing more. I wish we could say that we dont have feelings of contempt for Islam and what it appears to represent but the images of devastation make that impossible. This concept of meeting with Muslim families or individuals may bring us to a different understanding of what exactly Islam is. If there is a group meeting in our area we would be interested in attending.
Thank you for your message. I really appreciate it. Do you live in the Seattle area? We’d love to have you at our next dinner. Could you email me? [email protected]
Peace to you and yours,
Me and my wife Liz live in the Renton area. We would love to come to one of your dinners and learn more about your faith and how you overcome the hatred and bigotry created by the media. The next time you have one of your dinners we would be honored to come. We really enjoyed you on Masterchef and now that I know your web site we will be trying some of your recipes.
Thank you so much for your message and kind words. We would love to have you and your wife join us. We are hoping for more dinners in the coming months and will keep the site updated! Would you email me? [email protected] so I could have your information readily available!
I would like to meet you guys in person. My name is Abu Omar. We are having Afur with Muslim Brothers and Sisters at NewHolly Gathering Hall on July 1st. Woudl you guys like to come and join us?
I was reading your article and I am impressed.Caroline Dodge referred me to you. Mashallah keep up the GREAT work in your community. Do you live in Seattle?
Salamu Alikum! Thank you kindly brother. Inshallah we will be there on July 1st. Is there anything I can bring?
Hey girl. Just listened to your interview on NPR. Right on! You’re admirable. Thank you for being you.
Thank you so much, Jennifer! I appreciate your kind words 🙂
This is a lovely idea. Thank you for sharing your home and hospitality! I wish I lived in your area to partake 🙂
Thank you so much, Michele!! <3
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea. I would be honored to have dinner with you guys, and give you support with this project. I haven’t met many Muslims, but the ones I’ve met have been amazing people. I come from a pretty bigoted family from the south who don’t seem to understand that even their religion of Christianity has its own pile of wack-a-doos. Every group of anything has them. I’m vegan, and there are plenty of vegans who make the sane ones look insane.
Anyhow, props for days with you guys! <3
Thank you so much! We would be honored to share a meal with you. I agree there are lots of ‘bad’ folks in every group so we need to show more of the good and hope we can also get the same headlines! peace to you <3
I am really struggling to find words to express how beautiful this story is.
Thank you for being the change you want to see.
Thank you for shining so bright with hope.
You’ve made my day, my week, my month!
All the best to you and yours.
Thank you so much for this kind message!!! I appreciate your words so very much <3 Thank you! Peace to you
I would like to be involved with the next sesdion you hsve pls feel free to contact me anytime
What a wonderful act. There is no better way to get to know someone than to break bread with them. I would love to find a group in the Tacoma area. How do I find one
Hi Pat! Thank you so much for your kind words and support! We are working on making the model available and easily adaptable for all communities! Check back for updates on how to get involved in a local dinner <3
What a fantastic idea. People should do this in their neighborhoods to get to know their neighbors better to not only break down the misconceptions of religions but to feel safer in their neighborhoods. I can get behind this concept. I love your breakout though Amanda! I’m very much an advocate of liking/loving the person for who they are and not where they are from, the color of their skin or what religious beliefs they have or not have.
Hi Elizabeth! Thank you for this message! I agree, we need to get to know one another for so many reasons.. including having safer neighborhoods and world! best to you!
Masha Allah aleykum!
Thank you very much!
Salaam Amanda, I’m from Jakarta, Indonesia, and I know you from Master Chef TV show. That was you, right? My family and I enjoyed watching you in that competition. When I came across this article, I knew I had to drop you a note haha.. Jazakillahu for your kind gesture, may Allah reward you and your family for portraying the true Muslim. Btw, those foods look just ah-mazing!! Assalamu’alaikum :*)
I love this!!! I live in Renton as well and would love to meet your family! Sign me up for your next dinner!!
Thank you so much, Rachel <3
Congratulations for this small effort to open doors and minds.
Thank you so much, Annette! We can all do our part <3
I am hosting my daughter’s friend for a party tomorrow. Her parents have agreed and this is the first party she has been allowed to go to! Her family is Muslim and while she was born here (upper midwest USA) her parents are immigrants. For years all invitations were declined but I have made a point to talk with the mom at school pickup and drop off because our daughters really do like each other. In the end she said yes this time. My question is – is there anything special I should do for a 9-year-old girl? the party is girls only, we don’t have a dog, we will avoid pork, I’m not serving alcohol to minors regardless of religion… I am driving her home at 9pm as her family also has a brand new baby. Am I missing anything? I want this first experience to be as good as possible. Please let me know – thank you for sharing your culture and religion.
Hello Kate! You are so thoughtful and considerate. I think you have all the bases covered and will be a great host. Thank you for being so kind and reaching out to ask. 😀
I just saw you on Today Show and I want to say thank you for what your doing. Blessings over your husband and you.
I saw your segment on NBC Today! What a WONDERFUL idea…Bless you! 💖💕
Just saw what you are doing on the today show. I just want to say that I am in awe of what you are doing and hope this leads to a loving change in our country. Peace be with you. All the best to you and yours!
where and when. can i come?
Masha’Allah! I just found your website and am so grateful that you are doing what you are! May Allah SWA reward and magnify your efforts, In’sha’Allah. I am in NJ and would love to start something similar. May you have a blessed and fruitful Ramadan and may Allah Azza wa Jaal bring you near to Him always, ameen