Mainstream USA Perception of Islam Deeply Flawed
Some 75% of media coverage of Islam in the USA is negative. It’s even greater in Europe. Islam has the lowest favorability rating of all US religions (even atheism scores higher!). Hate crimes to Muslims are five times higher than pre-9/11. The 2016 political environment has also bolstered a trend toward using Muslims in the USA and worldwide as objects of political sloganeering, to create fear mongering and to appeal to unfortunate nativist sentiments.
Negative Image Reinforced By Lack of Knowledge of Islam
This negative image has been generated and reinforced by a profound lack of knowledge about Islam in America, and by myths and misconceptions about Arabs and Muslims that began with the Crusades, and continued in medieval conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and Europe. Entertainment media have added to this by replacing the conventional villains of the past with “Islamic Terrorists” and “Jihadists“ as the Hollywood heavies of the 21st century.
Staying Silent No Longer an Option
Early Muslim professional immigrants were readily accepted by American colleagues and neighbors. However, as more Muslims immigrated to the US, and as Middle East political tensions rose, Muslims began to experience suspicion and hatred, but with NO attendant rise in positive visibility: Muslim groups, mosques and community centers have not been able to create a credible and strong media voice for Islam in America. Media reps still respond to any incident perpetrated by any deviants in the name of Islam, by loudly demanding, ”Where are the moderate Muslims? Why don’t mainstream Muslims oppose these outrages?”