Dr. Abu-Alrub grew up in Huntsville as the granddaughter of a Methodist minister. She converted to Islam 27 years ago when she married a man with Palestinian roots. Her work as an oncology nurse -- helping people cope with cancer -- has taught her that people will accept differences in culture and religion when they have a common purpose.
Along with close friend Rev. Dr. Basye Holland-Shuey, Episcopal priest and spiritual director of the Church of the Nativity, Abu-Alrub works to combat Islamophobia, hate crimes, and school bullying. The two have gone to workshops around the country to see how other communities cope.
So it was natural that they helped plan the first annual "Meet Your Muslim Neighbor" event, an open house held at the Huntsville Islamic Center on Sparkman Drive. Dozens of members of the center wanted to host an event that would deal with misconceptions about Islam as well as show the public that Muslims are doctors, professors, students, ordinary people with jobs and families.
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