Friendship Dinner at East Shore

Feb 15, 2016 | News

On Monday, February 22, we welcomed our Muslim neighbors to share in food and conversation. It was a great turnout! The following week, this editorial was published in the Seattle Times:

Muslims and the hijab: My experiences show people are more than welcoming

I feel that I have a responsibility to share my experiences and perspective in response to your columnist on why she stopped wearing the hijab [“My Take: Why I stopped wearing the hijab,” Opinion, Feb. 20].

I came to Seattle in 1976 from Karachi, Pakistan. My experience of wearing the hijab has been very welcoming and accepting throughout the years of my professional career — 10 years at an insurance company in the heart of downtown Seattle and more than 10 years at Microsoft. I am currently a faculty member of Bellevue College and teaching classes about Islam.

I take the bus everywhere, and when I was employed full-time, Metro was my trusty mode of transportation to and from work. In all these times, there was no one who made any derogatory comments that would deter me from wearing the head covering as part of my Islamic dress code.

On my walks to the grocery store, the library and the community center in my Bellevue neighborhood, I see people I do not know waving at me and smiling from their cars as they drive by.

The positive reactions from our non-Muslim community members have been overwhelming with regard to the negative statements made by some of our elected officials.

Some of them even started to wear the hijab in support of us, and a group at the East Shore Unitarian Church organized a friendship dinner for their Muslim friends. Meanwhile, members of the Interfaith Community are organizing a series of monthly gatherings at various locations with a theme of “standing together.” Visit for more information.

Farida Hakim, Bellevue