Jordan RPCV Lee Wilbur writes: I want people in the United States to realize that the Muslim world is vast and varied
When I turn on my American television and see Muslims, I feel scared. I see acts of violence. I hear rants of anger and hate. I see war and threats and tempers boiling. You see, Muslims do not have a peaceful face on my American TV. They do not appear to be happy people. I feel these images and this anger, over and over, again and again, every time I turn on my American television.
These images are shocking to me. I do not doubt that they are real. Several parts of the Muslim world are experiencing unimaginable suffering from war, death, poor human rights and fear from social insecurity. What I know, however, is that these images of anger and hate are not universal traits across the Muslim world. I know this because I recently returned from Muslim lands and I experienced quite the opposite.
What I want is for people in the United States to realize that the Muslim world is vast and varied. In my experience it is also exceptionally welcoming. Since we do not see the everyday life in much of the Muslim world in the media, I encourage us to seek it out. Using the internet, we can easily contact people all over the world â perhaps their televisions give them as negative an imagine about us as ours does about them. We can also meet people in our communities and discuss images and assumptions we acquire from watching television. By reaching out in this way, we will gain a personal and more balanced image.
Most importantly, those of us with positive cross-cultural experiences should be vocal in counteracting stereotypes and assumptions. We can do this by simply sharing our experiences. I, for example, share stories such as the ones in this article in hopes of counteracting negative feelings and misperceptions acquired through the media. Though I do not reach audiences as wide as those reached by CNN and Fox News, I feel blessed to be able to spread positive news from the Muslim world to anyone who will listen. Read more.