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Don't know Muslims? These Seattle women invite you to dinner

caption: Eat With Muslims co-founders Fathia Absie and Ilays Aden.
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Eat With Muslims co-founders Fathia Absie and Ilays Aden.
KUOW Photo/Andy Hurst

Fathia Absie wants you to come to dinner. The Somali-American filmmaker and writer is co-founder of a Seattle-based project called Eat With Muslims, where Muslim families host dinners for people of all faiths and cultures.

On March 4, about 25 people gathered in the community space of a Belltown apartment building. The dinner was hosted by Absie and co-founder Ilays Aden. The mood was light and fun — like a dinner party.

Guests gathered to talk, but it wasn't a question-and-answer style event. Instead they answered questions as a group, like, "What's the most beautiful thing in the world?" and "What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Muslims?"

Listen to a snapshot of the dinner:

Absie says she started the project because of the hateful rhetoric about Muslims that grew out of the presidential campaign.

"Nothing beats fear like face," Absie says. "Once you talk to someone, all the differences you think you have just melt away. And our commonality will start revealing itself."

Absie says the goal of the project is to give Muslims the chance to take control of their own narratives.

"If I have a chance to create a beautiful space and change hearts and minds, then I've gained something," Absie says. "And I want to hopefully inspire other Muslims to do the same."

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