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 🙂