Brave Woman Sets Up ‘Ask A Muslim’ Stand And The Results Are Absolutely Beautiful

Mona Haydar is a Muslim woman living in Massachusetts. She, like almost every Muslim in America, is well aware of the horrible rhetoric and discrimination directed at those who are of the Islamic faith — or even perceived to be so. So, during a dinner conversation one night, Haydar and her husband had an idea that she describes as “kind of crazy”: to reach out to the community and set up an “Ask a Muslim” stand in Cambridge. Offering free coffee, donuts, and conversation, Haydar plunged on with her outreach. From Daily Kos/NPR:

“He had seen this segment on This American Life, where a young Iraqi man had done ‘Ask an Iraqi,’ ” Haydar tells NPR’s Carrie Kahn. “And so [Sebastian] was like, ‘Why haven’t we thought of this before? Why don’t we get out and talk to people?’

“So, we did it,” Haydar says.

Haydar was apprehensive, originally, about what things would be like if she actually pulled the idea off. However, she needn’t have been. Many people didn’t ask questions. Instead, they told her they appreciated her efforts, and she even received apologies for the ill treatment people of her faith have been experiencing. Haydar posted about her experience on Facebook:

Today I stepped out of my comfort zone and stood out in a public space holding a box of donuts in front of signs that my husband Sebastian made. “Talk to a Muslim” “Free coffee and donuts” “Ask a Muslim” “Free conversation.”

Everyone who stopped to talk to us was so kind and sweet. “Thanks for doing this” was the most common comment and often followed by, “I’m sorry about what’s happening in our country right now. It makes me so sad.” One woman was on the verge of tears and wanted to know when we were coming back so she could bring a box of donuts for us to give out.

Funny things happened too. Some people just wanted the coffee but didn’t have a question and were relieved when they didn’t have to ask a question to get coffee. Lol. Others wanted to talk about their own religions and that was fun for us for sure.

One of the most heart warming moments was when a high school aged Muslim boy came over and said “I’m so glad you’re doing this! Can I take your picture!?”

We did this out of love for Love and how you feeeeel the LOVE!

We weren’t out there that long today but the take away was clear: Keep your heads held high, dear Muslim family. The world is a good and beautiful place with small pockets of hatred here and there. There is an overwhelming amount of love and so remember this post when you are faced with bigotry and hatred towards you or your faith. Remember that you have supporters too. When you are faced with difficulty, remember that ease is right around the corner. Remember that you are as American as apple pie. And I ask you now, since we did this in Cambridge right near the cafe where in Goodwill Hunting Matt Damon asks, “How bout them apples?” How about em?

The event gathered much attention, and eventually Haydar was interviewed by NPR. You can read that full transcript here.

This is what should be happening on all sides of the aisle. Good for you, Mrs. Haydar, and thank you for your bravery. Getting to know those who are different from ourselves is the first step toward ending prejudice.

Featured image via Mona Haydar Facebook

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