Mona Haydar and her husband Sebastian had a crazy idea one night over dinner. They had seen This American Life segment featuring a man who did an “Ask an Iraqi” booth to change attitudes of hate concerning the Iraqi people.
Mona, who is a Muslim, wanted to do something similar in order to combat the rising tide of anti-Muslim sentiments that have been steadily growing year after year in the United States. Sebastian suggested that they “do something crazy.”
And so, armed with a folding table, a few boxes of donuts, and a fresh pot of coffee the two set out to change a few hearts and minds
The Haydars set up outside of a Cambridge Mass. library with a sign that read, “Talk to a Muslim.”
In an interview with NPR Mona admitted that the responses were less question-based and more conciliatory:
“Honestly, most of the people didn't ask questions. To be totally frank with you, people just wanted to say hey and connect and say, "Hey, I really love what you're doing" and ‘Thank you for doing this’ and a lot of folks were apologizing for things that are happening in the world right now, for all the discrimination that Muslims are facing in the world, especially in America.
2015 has been a year of progress in many ways. But it has also, unfortunately, been a year of hate.
Set loose by the tragic catalyst of the November Paris terrorist attacks, a truly unsettling trend towards anti-Muslim tendencies has been on an incredibly disappointing rise.
Most of the anger is being generated by a combination of fear-mongering politicians and general ignorance.
People accept misinformation as reality and thrown opinions around as if they were facts. Most of the destructive attitudes surrounding the Muslim Community right now could be easily solved if those tht feel hatred would substitute the time they spend writing angry Facebook comments with time researching the realities of the Muslim community.
If they think that is too much trouble, at least one enterprising young Muslim woman, is willing to bring enlightenment directly to them.
Continue Reading: 50 Percent Of Muslims Say That They Have Been Bullied
Banner Image: Courtesy of Mona Haydar