Yesterday, Joseph, a Muslim, and I, an agnostic, sat down outside a restaurant on Lancaster Blvd. in Lancaster, California and laid out our game plan for International Have a Meal with a Muslim Day. We’ll be having coffee, and perhaps a bite to eat, at Pars, a Persian restaurant in Palmdale, California at 5:30 pm. At least one imam will be joining us, and maybe even two or three. If you live in Northern Los Angeles County, feel free to join us. And if you’re elsewhere, consider trying a meet-up, sometime over the next week or so, with a Muslim where you live.
Also, an imam I spoke to this weekend invited me to Friday prayers at a nearby mosque at 1:30. That sounds interesting, doesn’t it? I’ve never actually stepped into a mosque before.
Another thing: a culture and arts reporter for the LA Examiner, Lacy Morris, hearing about International Have a Meal with a Muslim Day, collared me Friday evening after a local production of the play, Annie, for an interview. Her article is here. Money quote:
The end of Ramadan came this last week but hopefully the time of thought and reflection will extend to Tafarella’s “Have a Meal with a Muslim Day.” Perhaps the conversations that occur on September 17th will be the conversations that ensure open communication between different worlds and cultures. Tafarella tells me he “believe[s] that in sustained communication—a culture of honest dialogue—is the potential salvation of the world. And you only need two people and no special equipment. No track shoes. Nothing expensive. Isn’t that great? Let’s strike up conversations, not matches.”
Striking up conversations, not matches, is a bit cheesy, I admit. But we live in a soundbite age, right? If you are a reporter, have a radio show, or want to otherwise contact me, my name is Santi Tafarella and you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sorry for the shameless promotion, but I want to get the word out this week. If you like the idea of spontaneous citizen initiated community dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims, please share the meme around this week—and do it yourself.
Lastly, if you could ask a question of an American imam, what would it be? Put it in the thread below and maybe I’ll ask it for you Friday evening. We’ll be videoing and YouTubing Friday’s meet-up as well.