THE STRANGER - August 19th, 2016.
With Courageousness and Humility, Amanda Saab and Her Husband Are Changing the Conversation About Islam
by Naomi Tomky
"Everything you probably think about me is false," says Amanda Saab, when asked what she'd most like to tell the public. The Renton social worker, MasterChef contestant, and food blogger sees the stares she gets on the street and hears from haters through social media. Rather than having people fixate on her hijab and imagine what Islam means to her, she wants them to ask her about it.
So Saab created a safe, inviting space for people to do just that: Dinner with Your Muslim Neighbor.
When Saab and her husband, Hussein, moved to Seattle almost five years ago, she brought a Midwestern accent full of flat vowels and a naïveté about being Muslim in the Northwest. Growing up in diverse Dearborn, Michigan, where her extended family of more than 50 people still gathers every weekend, Saab hadn't thought about what wearing a head scarf in Seattle would be like. Her first reaction was surprise: "Whoa, there are a lot of white people here." She felt she stood out—and not in a good way. She could sense the stares fixated on her hijab as she walked down the street. "I felt so 'other-ized'!"