‘The Lovers & Fighters of America’ is a weekly column here at Ravishly featuring behind-the-scenes stories of inspirational people taking a stance against hate.
Palo Alto High School sophomore Yusra Rafeeqi is combating intolerance and negative stereotypes of Muslim people by extending an invitation to her family’s dinner table. The name for her new venture is Dine With a Muslim Family. The goal is to help educate others about what it truly means to be Muslim.
On May 5th, the Californian (and her family) hosted her first guests, who happened to be fellow Lovers & Fighters Alex Radelich and Dalton Lamert of Explore Kindness. Since then, the Rafeeqi family has served up six more meals, and engaged in some interesting dinnertime discussions with new friends (though they are currently on hiatus due to Ramadan).
Yusra wanted to do something to help fight the badly skewed image of Islam, as presented by Muslim extremists. “There are extremists and radicals in every single religion and every single race out there. It doesn’t mean that the whole race or religion should be defined by them. Extremists twist religion’s teachings and their identity to create a negative atmosphere around them,” she said in an interview with Palo Alto Pulse. She hopes people will look to learn about her faith before making judgments. “Learn more about Muslims, their discoveries, their advancements in America, what they have done to make America grow," she said.
By inviting people into the family home to dine and to socialize, Yusra hopes to give others (who may not have Muslim friends) an opportunity to learn about Islam.
Luckily, Yusra’s entire family is on board with the idea. Her mother and aunts prepare the food, and her father and uncles also take part in the hosting experience. Yusra’s sister is her campaign manager who schedules dinners and communicates with those who inquire.
Yusra has been pleased to see so many people showing an interest in getting to know her and her family. She told Ravishly: “It's surprising how many people are ready to meet complete strangers and have a meal with them without having known them before. I'm not surprised by the very positive feedback, as people are generally very kind and open-minded, but it is touching to me that so many people are supportive and motivational.”
By bringing people together to share food and conversation, the Rafeeqi family are creating opportunities for non-Muslims to expand their knowledge of the Muslim faith. By opening up their home, can Yusra and her family open minds? Here at Ravishly, we are feeling both hopeful and inspired.
We are honored to feature Yusra Rafeeqi and her family as this week’s Lovers & Fighters, and we wish them all the best with this positive initiative.
To get in touch with Yusra and her family, send an email to: DineWithAMuslimFamily@gmail.com
Follow along with Yusra and her family on Dine With A Muslim Family’s Facebook!
If you’d like to learn more about Ramadan, Yusra suggests reading "Ramadan 2017: Why Is It So Important to Muslims?"
If you know an inspirational Lover & Fighter whom you’d like to see featured on Ravishly, send a message to Shannon Day, via Facebook.
Lovers & Fighters say "hell no" to racism, sexism, bigotry, and xenophobia. These men, women, and children are saying "heck yes" to equality, human decency, and love. From bold acts of advocacy to simple moments of goodness, these everyday people remind us of what it truly means to be American.
These lovers and fighters are resistant in the face of intolerance. They are bold in the presence of judgment. They are determined to join forces (or to stand proudly alone) to ensure their message is heard: #LoveTrumpsHate