'Meet a Muslim' events hope to dispel misconceptions
(AP) - When Moina Shaiq realized even her own friends were scared to ask her about her religion for fear of offending her or sounding uneducated, she put an advertisement in a California newspaper: "Questions and answers about being Muslim."
The ad offered ideas for questions: Are women oppressed in Islam? What is the Islamic view of terrorism? How does Islam view other religions?
She set up shop at a coffee house in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Fremont, hoping for good attendance. To her surprise, about 100 people turned out that January day last year, and "Meet a Muslim" was born.
With an uptick in anti-Muslim crimes in the U.S., Shaiq said she started the "Meet a Muslim" talks to educate people about her faith and culture while addressing people's misconceptions and stereotypes.