Diana Nelson Jones’ Walkabout: Potlucks with Musli… – Pittsburgh Post

February 22, 2016 - Picnic Time

A crony invited me to a new potluck during a Thomas Merton Center in Garfield during that a Islamic Center of Pittsburgh would yield a food. Non-Muslims brought desserts and beverages.

More than 100 people were approaching for a “Meet Your Muslim Neighbors” eventuality — a latest in a array of gatherings to build bargain and support for people who, given 9/​11, have borne a brunt of stupidity and fear in this country.

We spilled over into Assemble Gallery next-door and indispensable some-more chairs, that were supposing by a Irma Freeman Center opposite a street.

This potluck followed a identical eventuality in Jan that a Islamic Center hold with Conflict Kitchen. The Jewish Voice for Peace orderly a entertainment in December, when Kelcey Sharkas, overdo coordinator for a Islamic Center, and Gabe McMorland and Marni Fritz of a Merton Center designed a Feb event.

I assimilated a list that enclosed Amna Mushtaq, a Pakistani local who lives in Monroeville. She was a usually Muslim during a table. Each had during slightest one, kind of like a horde ambassador.

At initial we thought, “We should be welcoming them, feeding them, being horde ambassadors to them,” when it struck me. We? Why not they? They live here. Many were innate here. Many are citizens, healthy or naturalized.

They join us in line to buy tickets, they float a train with us, their selling carts hurl alongside ours. They record their taxes and demeanour brazen to planting a garden in a spring, usually as many of us do.

And that’s a point. They are us.

“We’ve lived here 17, 18 years,” Ms. Mushtaq said, her eyes darting as if to find a accurate series in a air. “We’ve stopped counting.”

She has sat on panels, oral on radio call-in shows and attends potlucks to build bargain among non-Muslims, she said.

Wasiullah Mohamed, executive executive of a Islamic Center, pronounced programs such as a potluck are dictated to build village among Muslims and non-Muslims to opposite a effects of Islamophobia.

“We’re looking during any opening probable for outreach,” he said. “We do a lot of interfaith work, where we learn as many as we teach.

“There is so many misinformation, that leads to some-more fear. we can’t pronounce adult any time” someone spews hatred speech, he said. “It helps to get a allies some-more prepared in a protected and bargain sourroundings so that they are empowered to step up.”

Over halal chicken, basmati rice, curried vegetables, grape leaves and hummus, Amna and we talked about food, recipes and informative variations from place to place. Pakistani food, Nigerian food and Persian food are all different, though they are all dishes that Muslims eat. So is pizza.

I asked her to explain “halal.” In a box of a chicken, a nomination means it was killed and processed according to Islamic law. we asked her about women’s conduct coverings and since they vary. Some fit loosely, some cover all though a eyes. She told me a words: hijab for a looser scarf, niqab for a slightest revealing.

Like a opposite levels of confluence to a dress formula among Muslims, opposite levels of confluence exist in other religions too, either in dress or in other practices.

The many revelation sense she pronounced she gets from people’s questions is that they consider Muslims lead opposite sorts of lives than other people.

“We all have a same daily grind,” she said, smiling. “You have to know people” to comprehend how many we are a same.

As we ate during tables in Assemble, dozens of people subsequent doorway during a Merton Center sat cruise character on spreads on a floor, eating, talking, laughing, gesturing, beating their fingers.

Amna pronounced she has been in other cities and talks to Muslims who live in other cities, and that Pittsburgh is a place where people are good to immigrants. we wish that becomes some-more true, since we know of exceptions.

No haters showed adult to a potluck a other night. Everyone there was some-more than fair to carrying Muslim neighbors. Like many people during events meant to change minds, usually a choir incited out for this one.

But with any event, new choir members come. In time, a choir will be large adequate and outspoken adequate to conceal a hatred and all a immorality it can do.

Diana Nelson Jones: djones@post-gazette.com or412-263-1626.

source ⦿ http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/diana-nelson-jones/2016/02/22/Diana-Nelson-Jones-Walkabout-Potlucks-with-Muslims-aim-to-dispel-fear-and-ignorance/stories/201602220010

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