Outreach Needed to Dispel Stereotypes of Islam in Fremont

March 17, 2006

Source: Inside Bay Area


On March 17, 2006 Inside Bay Area reported, "Two polls released this week indicated that almost half of Americans have a negative perception of Islam and that one in four of those surveyed have extreme anti-Muslim views. An independent survey by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) shows that 23 to 27 percent of all Americans believe Muslims value life less than other people and that Islam teaches violence and hatred. The survey also showed that only 6 percent of Americans have a positive first impression of Islam and Muslims. A similar poll released by the Washington Post and ABC News found that one in four Americans 'admitted to harboring prejudice toward Muslims,' and that 46 percent had a negative view of Islam, a 7 percent jump since the months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001... [Mohamad Rajabally, president of the Islamic Society of the East Bay commented,] 'You need to have positive exposure to Islam, but that doesn't necessarily sell... What sells is the bombings, and people take that to represent 1.2 billion people. ISNA (the Islamic Society of North America), CAIR and other Islamic groups speak out, (but) they're not being heard.' However, he noted that when Muslims have held open houses or outreach efforts here in the Tri-City area, as they did earlier this month, they've been positively received."