GOOD

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

Her act isn’t just one of courage. It also shows her faith in the goodness of people

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.

Food

In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

Keep Reading Show less

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

An anonymous White House official claims President Trump cruelly limited Hispanic immigrants in their new book, "A Warning."

The book, to be released on November 19, gives an alleged insider account of the Trump White House and paints a picture of the president as a chaotic man who lacks the mental and moral acumen required for the job.

The anonymous staffer says that Trump once feigned a Hispanic accent and made fun of women attempting to immigrate to the U.S.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
Yad Vashem

Since 1992, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous has been holding reunion ceremonies between Holocaust survivors and rescuers once a year. But the tradition is coming to an end, as many have died or are too frail to travel. What might be the last reunion of its kind took place when a 92-year-old woman met up with the two surviving family members that she helped hide during the Holocaust, and their descendants.

Sarah Yanai and Yossi Mor introduced Melpomeni Dina (nee Gianopoulou) to their almost 40 family members, all decedents of the Mordechai family, the family of seven that Dina and her two sisters hid during WWII. "There are no words to describe this feeling," Dina told the Jeruselum Post. "It is very emotional for us to be together again."

Keep Reading Show less
Culture