I was sitting in my friend's living room, waiting for her to get ready. In the couch across from me was her grandmother.
My friend was taking forever. I was watching Family Feud with the grandmother who I had never met before.
We laughed together, tried to take guesses together. Talked about gardening and butterflies. Talked about the dog and why it has a Band-Aid on it's stomach. In short, we got along really well.
And then she changed the channel. Someone had made an offensive film about Mohammed, and people in Egypt were taking to the streets and protesting; burning American flags. A U.S. Ambassador had been killed in Libya.
"Why do these people love violence so much?"
She figured I was Hispanic.
"Someone should do something about these people," she said.
After talking to her a little more, I realized that she only knew Muslims from afar; she only knew what she saw on television. Even though she lived in New York City, she never really got to interact with Muslims.
We are naturally afraid of the unknown. She didn't realize she was talking to someone who was born into a Muslim family.
So I figured I would go out and meet with a few Muslims from different backgrounds. I would spend a few hours with them and see what they're like, and report back to my friend's grandma. I was hoping to find some universal threads my friend's grandmother could hold on to and maybe connect. These are the people I ran into.
You're welcome to join us and contribute to the discussion.