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Muslim-American Couple Invites Strangers to Ask Them Anything

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By Carol Kuruvilla

Soon after the San Bernardino attacks last December, Mona Haydar and her husband Sebastian Robins began searching desperately for a way to “replace trauma and terror with love.” Haydar, a Syrian-American Muslim from Flint, Michigan, says that a lot of people don’t realize that when an extremist performs acts of terror in the name of Islam, it’s often Muslims who start fearing repercussions. “After San Bernardino we were completely and totally depressed,” the 27-year-old wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. “We had days where we didn’t leave the house.”  In a video for Upworthy, Robins, who embraced Islam, spoke about how after the shootings, he felt afraid for his wife to go out in her hijab. He was also afraid for their young son, Safi. And for the first time in his life, he also felt afraid to be out in public. In an effort to promote interfaith understanding, the couple decided to station themselves outside a Cambridge, Massachusetts library with a few doughnuts, cartons of coffee, and a sign emblazoned with the words “Ask a Muslim.” They invited passers-by to stop and ask them questions about anything. “We just wanted to bring a smile to people’s faces. We wanted to have heart connections,” Haydar told The Huffington Post. “We wanted to replace the trauma and terror with love by way of doughnuts, coffee, flowers and good conversations.” Mona Haydar and her husband Sebastian Robins currently live in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Since that first impromptu social experiment in December, the couple said they have set up shop with their signs and donuts close to a dozen times and had conversations with between 200 and 500 people. The most common question they reportedly get is, “Why aren’t Muslims standing up against terrorism?” “Unfortunately people don’t know just how much and how vehemently Muslims are consistently coming out in droves individually and institutionally to condemn acts of terrorism,” Haydar wrote. ”
(The Huffington Post)