Our opinion is that accurate understanding of Islam and of Muslims by Christians, Jews, secularists, and others in the West is seriously impeded by at least four main factors:
Massive amounts of misinformation, disinformation and Islamophobia provided by the religious and secular media.
The mistaken belief that Islam is a monolithic religion in which its followers all hold identical beliefs and behave in the same way.
The assumption that the beliefs and actions of a small radical, fundamentalist, violent minority within Islam is typical of all Muslims everywhere.
The often repeated but mistaken belief that moderate Muslims never criticize religiously inspired hatred, violence, terrorism, injustice, etc. in their midst.
Perhaps the best ways to counteract these influences -- and to learn what Islam is all about -- is either to ask Muslims themselves or to let Muslims speak freely. We recommend the following resources:
Video: "Inside Islam: What a billion Muslims really think:"
This one hour video was produced by Unity Productions Foundation. It is based upon a massive study by the Gallup Organization -- the most extensive public opinion poll ever taken of the Muslim world. Gallup interviewed tens of thousands of Muslims in 35 predominately Muslim countries and among Muslim populations in Europe and the U.S.
On the Top Documentary Films website, viewers have posted 188 comments as of 2012-MAY-03. Most are highly negative. They are well worth the investment of your time to read them. You will get a feeling for the intensity of hatred towards Islam in particular and world religions in general. One example, by "devlinwaugh" may give you an impression of the loathing expressed:
"Religion the mother of all hate and loathing,the father of festering greed, the birth of power over humans. Religions and the people who follow them disgust me, hanging torturing burning greed separatists elitist hate fueled monsters."
IMHO, these comments form the best possible demonstration of the need for the ReligiousTolerance.org website and similar websites and groups promoting tolerance.
Plaque/rack card/flyer containing a brief introduction to Islam:
"The Truth about Islam" has been called the "best, short introduction to
Islam" and has been published in Foreign Affairs, The Brown Journal of World
Affairs, Washington Report On Middle East Affairs, Teacher Magazine, The
Washington Times, Islamic Horizons, etc. It was displayed in the Washington
Metrorail system in 1998. Thousands of posters and flyers have been distributed containing the text. It can be obtained in the form of a bronze plaque, 4x9 rack cards, 5x7 iCards, or flyer.
It was first published by Enver Masud in 1995. The Wisdom Fund urges that the text be downloaded and circulated. "Provided
that it is not altered in any way whatsoever, The Truth About Islam iCard is
available for non-commercial printing or e-mailing with: blue text, green text,
text only. " 2