A 2010 Time magazine poll showed that only 38 percent of Americans have ever met a Muslim. At the time I read this, the number was very alarming to me and I concluded it couldnt be true. To prove my point, each time I went to a local high school, college, or organization to give a presentation on Islam, I always began with the same question: How many of you have ever met a Muslim? To my dismay, the responses I received verified the polls results.
In a recent trial of a classroom of 30 college students, I was again met with the same outcome; In fact, the numbers were even less than 38 percent. Based on that experience, it would appear even two years after the Time magazine poll, the numbers haven’t changed. How unfortunate, 62 percent of Americans have yet to meet a Muslim! Their only encounter with a Muslim is what the news media has shown them. Its said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and the images portrayed on television have been engrained in the American public’s mind, even though they in no way represent the true teachings of Islam. In fact, they represent a very small minority of a religion that claims 1.5 billion people worldwide, 2.6 million of whom are our American neighbors.