Small talk a bridge over big divides

A survey finds half of Americans have prejudices toward Muslims.

Tam Saidi

Recently, GallupâÄôs Muslim West Facts Project poll showed that about half of Americans have prejudices toward Muslims and that two-thirds admitted to having little to no knowledge of Islam. We know some of you might even be scared of us. We know it is not your fault. Unfamiliarity breeds fear. If we were to learn about Muslims only from TV, we would be scared, too. But really, we are not as scary as the TV makes us look. Yes, there are a few extremists among us, just as there are extremists like Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph and Joe Stack. For most of us, America is our home. So when someone wants to harm Americans or blow up a plane, they want to harm us as much as they harm you. With our beards and headscarves, we may look like the pictures of Jesus and Mary, but we also struggle to make ends meet, to get better grades, to survive the winter and to be good to our neighbors. We take the same planes and the same buses. We love and revere Abraham, Moses and Jesus. We believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ and await his second coming as the Messiah. And Allah is just the Arabic word for the one God that Moses and Jesus worshipped. So we have a lot more in common than we differ in. Come talk with us. We donâÄôt mind talking about religion, but when no one brings up religious topics, we donâÄôt bring them up either. So please talk to us. Visit us at our homes or our places of worship or invite us over to yours. We may look different, but deep down, we are just as human as you. Tam Saidi University alum Please send comments to [email protected]