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Thursday, May 11, 2017

How A Muslim MasterChef In Michigan Is Fighting Islamophobia By Inviting Strangers Over For Dinner?

In her book 'A Room of One's Own', Virginia Wolf had written, "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." 28-year-old Amanda Saab, a Michigan-based social worker and a blogger probably believes in Wolf's words.

At a time of fear and uncertainty, and when the world is full of hate, Amanda is showing how generosity and passion for food can bring people together; one dinner at a time.

She hosts a type of gathering that she calls "Dinner With Your Muslim Neighbor." For over a year now, she has been inviting guests over to her home where she serves them a home cooked meal. And while they dine, she likes to have open conversations about what it's like to be Muslim in America today.


Amanda is also the first Muslim woman to compete on Fox's "MasterChef" in a headscarf.

During the show, while some viewers wrote about the joy of finally seeing a "hijabi" woman on an American cooking show, some also called her 'oppressed' and asked her 'true motivation'.

"It made me realize: Just my existence in the world is bothersome to some people," she told Washington Post in an interview.

The Washington Post chronicled her heroic endeavor of feeding people, starting right from one of her Amanda's grocery journeys.

The idea of feeding people came to her one day while she watched the news. She thought Islam was not being in the right light. And thus began her journey.

Noticing the blatant lack of knowledge concerning what Muslims are and aren't, she realized it was time to do something. "Have I played a part in that? Have I not reached out to people and given them an opportunity to meet me?" she asked herself.

This is when Saab and her husband, Hussein Saab, decided to invite a small group of colleagues, friends, and some strangers over to their house for an interfaith dinner.

Since the first meal in January, 2016, they've had several dinners (no strings attached) wherever they moved to.

"Lets start at a basic fundamental need that we all need, which is nourishment and let's not only nourish our stomachs, but let's nourish our minds," she told NBC News video.

The couple knows that they need other people to start doing the same. So they have now partnered with Michael Hebb, a teaching fellow at the University of Washington's communication leadership department, where they are assembling a free online tool kit.

They are hoping other Muslims across the US will use it to hold their own dinners.
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