DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Like so many Muslims, Irfa Sheikh has spent her post 9/11 life trying to convince a shaken nation that the actions of a few, should not condemn the billion plus people around the world, who peacefully practice Islam.
“That’s what our religion is based on… to spread peace and kindness,” says Sheikh, “and that’s what we’re trying to show people: that your average American Muslim is trying to spread peace and kindness.”
Sheikh works as the Event Coordinator for CAIR — the Council on American-Islamic Relations — in Dallas/Fort Worth. She says over the years CAIR’s research has shown that hate crimes and prejudice targeting Muslims has gotten worse.
Now the tech savvy millenial is turning to the internet in the hope of sparking change, each week releasing an introductory video titled ‘Meet-a-Muslim Monday’.
“What we hope is that, not for just someone to see the video and be like, `Oh, well,… this one Muslim is a nice Muslim, or this one Muslim student… but, not everyone is like that,'” explains Sheikh. “We hope that it encourages you if you spot a Muslim, and you’re like ‘hey’ and you engage in a conversation, and it opens up your outlook.”
So far, Sheikh has profiled a college student and a writer. An illustrator will perhaps be next. The goal is simple: to remind North Texans that Muslims are working hard to be viewed as neighbors and fellow Americans.
“When I was in high school, middle school growing up, I used to just tell them (classmates): ask me, and I’ll tell you. If you’re wondering about something, just talk to me. And I’ll tell you.”