Anti-Islamic Sentiment

It’s an article of faith in this country that religious intolerance will abate as people learn more about each other’s faiths. A Los Angeles Times nationwide poll gives cause to wonder if that’s true. People were asked whether they’d made an effort to learn more about Islam since 9/11 (by “reading books or articles, attending lectures or classes,” etc.). Thirty-four percent of respondents said they’d done so. These people were then asked how their opinion of Islam had changed, if at all. The 17 percent who’d gained a “more favorable” opinion of it were outnumbered by the 21 percent who’d developed a “more unfavorable” view. The gap was even wider among women who’d made an effort to learn more about Islam: 12 percent had come to look on it more favorably, while 27 percent had come to view it more unfavorably.