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Inviting Strangers To Her Home, A Muslim Teenager Is Fighting Intolerance With Dinner Parties

by Penn Collins

May 24, 2017

Education and Technology:

Microsoft Learning Tools is software that helps improve reading skills by reducing visual crowding, highlighting words, and reading text aloud, so students can engage with words in a whole new way.

Learn more

It requires courage to stand up to racism by tackling the issue in person, but 15-year-old Yusra Rafeeqi is demonstrating her conviction by inviting strangers into her home for dinner. By opening her home, she and her family are fighting the battle by demonstrating their faith in people. 

Concerned about the spread and openness of Islamophobia during the course of last year’s presidential campaign, Rafeeqi felt that if she could interact personally with people of all convictions, she could serve to educate people on Islam in a whole new way.

Thus was born the Facebook page and program Dine with a Muslim Family. She quickly found relief in how the project was received, especially amid the newly volatile climate many Muslims experienced in the past year.

Speaking to A Plus, Rafeeqi shares, “Knowing that our future president was confident in negative and ignorant thoughts on minorities, specifically Muslims, made me surprised that someone like this was widely supported.”

Prior to launching the program, her experiences gave her a litany of reasons to fear and avoid strangers. “In one instance, a car saw her [mother wearing a headscarf], pulled over while my family and I were walking on the street, and screamed ‘Heil Hitler,’ which made all of us very scared,” she said to HuffPost. However, she quickly realized that it was this instinct and distrust that spawned the anti-Islamic sentiment that she sought to change. 

As the post above shares, Yusra and her dad were, quite literally, on the street corner inviting strangers into their home. As one might expect, the meals often begin with a bit of an awkward vibe, with all diners unsure of the expectations on the other side. But soon, after the formalities and requisite questions are addressed, the event evolves into something more lighthearted and jovial, as meals often do. 

Heartened by the experiences thus far, Yusra plans on sticking with the program for as long as she can. “I plan to host dinners for as long as I can, at least until it’s time for college,” she said. Based on the experiences shared by her guests on social media, this could become a tough ticket for Northern California diners, so try to get an invite while they’re still available. 

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