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Before going to live with Shamael and Sadia, Dave had scant interaction with any Muslims. "I picture a woman with a sheet or hat and her face covered," he said. "I think of men with AK-47s." But Dave knew stepping out of his comfort zone was an amazing opportunity. "It's going to put me, probably, in one of the most vulnerable positions I have to be in," Dave explained, "and I expect to really grow from it."
But the cultural discomfort cut both ways: Shamael was uncomfortable with the prospect of Dave's being alone with Sadia. As Shamael explains, "It's just more of a religious custom that one doesn't stay in a room alone with another person from the other sex."