Despite the smells of fried dough and roasted meat wafting from the Minnesota State Fair, Salim and Zuleyha Ozonder were focused on the people who were leaving, not the food or festivities beckoning from across the street.
Each time a new wave of people exited, the young Minneapolis residents — who hadn't eaten all day — tried to press into their hands a small, glossy card that read "Islam Explained" on one side. On the other, it had about 180 words of background on a religion whose adherents fear is being misunderstood by too many Americans as violent and depraved.
"You just want people to take the card, spend a minute reading it and say, 'Oh. They're not terrorists,'" said 27-year-old Zuleyha...
Both said their exchanges with fairgoers were mostly pleasant, though Zuleyha said one man cursed at her. Most people either decline the cards or quietly take them and keep moving.
"More than one person said to me, 'You look normal,'" Salim Ozonder said.