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Their booth says 'Ask a Muslim,' but it's not religion they want to talk about.

After the success of their "Ask a Muslim" booth, Mona Haydar and Sebastian Robins reflect.

It's a scary time to be a Muslim in America. Mona Haydar would know.

She set up an "Ask a Muslim" display outside a Cambridge, Massachusetts, library last year. Coming shortly after the San Bernardino attacks, Mona's stand made national and even international news for offering a unique way of humanizing and softening people's preconceived notions about what it means to be Muslim.



At the time, attacks against mosques and Muslim Americans had spiked. It's the result of what Mona describes as "collective guilt."

It's a double standard too often applied to Muslims — think about all the times you've heard demands that the Muslim community condemn terrorist attacks and how few calls you hear for other groups to do the same. For example, if a white, Christian man commits an act of terror, it's rare to hear calls for a ban on white Christians or demands that the pope or other prominent white or Christian leaders issue a statement condemning the attack.

That's why Sebastian, Mona's husband, was scared.

The pushback against Muslims caused Sebastian to rethink his own safety in the world and how much harder it must be for people like Mona, who are visibly identifiable as being "different."

It was an eye-opening experience for him in understanding his own privilege.

To counter the misconceptions about Muslims, the couple set out to have conversations with anyone who would listen about anything they'd like to talk about.

Mona notes that the sign's open-ended premise of "Ask a Muslim" was intentional. It wasn't "Ask a Muslim about Islam" but rather an invitation to talk about whatever.

"Ask us about the Red Sox," she jokes.

In a just and fair world, an act like theirs wouldn't be seen as remarkable. In the current climate, it certainly is.

Sebastian sums it up perfectly.

Watch the Upworthy Original Video about Mona and Sebastian below:

10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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