By Altaf Ali |South Florida Sun-Sentinel Sept 15, 2008
Ask the average person what they know about Islam, they might say, “It is the religion of the Arabs” or “Jihad means holy war.”
Some would even say that the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, “promises terrorists 72 virgins when they die.”
Unfortunately, there are many myths and stereotypes about Islam. The “72 virgins” belief is probably the most misused and abused stereotype.
Add the misperceptions of Jihad and you’ll have an accumulation of myths and fears that will inevitably lead to Islam being marginalized and stigmatized.
Today, negative opinions about Islam are unfortunately escalating.
The Pew Research Center and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released a survey last year indicating that 45 percent of Americans said Islam is more likely than other faiths to encourage violence among its believers.