A Muslim cook wanted to stop the hate. So she started inviting strangers to dinner.

Amanda Saab shares her point of view on religion during the “Dinner With Your Muslim Neighbor” she co-hosted in Seattle. (Meryl Schenker /For The Washington Post)

Was struck by this story from Rebekah Denn in the Washington Post because of the tenacity, vulnerability, and hospitality of Amanda Saab and her husband Hussein. One need not agree with Islam (or Buddhism or Hinduism or Atheism) to know that respectful conversations over dinner are a possible first step in promoting a generous pluralism and neighborliness.

Here is an excerpt:

Her face framed by a delicate floral-print headscarf, Amanda Saab stepped into a Safeway. Ninety minutes later, the cashier rang up her groceries: $218.45 between Amanda’s brimming cart and the one steered by her husband, Hussein. The couple called an Uber and loaded the bags into the trunk. The driver asked their plans.

A dinner party, Amanda replied: “Would you like to come?”

Inviting strangers was one point of the feasts that Saab, 28, prepares for what she calls “Dinner With Your Muslim Neighbor.” She cooks — often in her own home and sometimes, as on this vacation trip, in a borrowed kitchen — and the couple answers any questions guests might have about their religion.

Amanda has had exposure to such questions, and the uncomfortable rise in fears about Islam, on a national stage. She’s learned that the answers — and any changes to hearts and minds — best unfold one tableful at a time.

Reality TV devotees know the cooking part would be a breeze for Amanda, a fan favorite on Season 6 of Fox’s “MasterChef” in 2015. Friends and relatives knew it, too. Advancing from an Easy-Bake Oven at age 5 to a Kitchen­Aid mixer at 16, she baked tiered cakes and piles of pastries for her extended family’s weekly gatherings in her home town near Detroit, where the Muslim population is among the nation’s largest. On weekends, she stayed up past her bedtime to watch “Iron Chef America.”

To read full story, click HERE

To check out Dinner with Your Muslim Neighbor, click HERE


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