Milwaukee Islamic Center Seeks to Build Bridges

April 30, 2006

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

On April 30, 2006 the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, "Galvanized by a recent national poll that shows an increase in the number of Americans with negative views of Islam, local Muslims are re-energizing outreach efforts by inviting the public to an open house this week at the Islamic Center. Advertisement The estimated 10,000 Muslims in the Milwaukee metropolitan area have not experienced the type of hate-motivated vandalism or attacks that have occurred in some parts of the country, but participation in interfaith events and public speaking by representatives of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee in recent years do not appear to have reached enough people, said Othman Atta, president of the society and a Milwaukee attorney. 'Despite the bridge building, something clearly is not working,' Atta said. A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted in early March found that the number of Americans with a negative view of Islam had grown from 38% to 46% since a few months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The poll also showed that the number of Americans who think that mainstream Islam encourages violence against non-Muslims has more than doubled since the attacks, from 14% in January 2002 to 33%... An independent poll commissioned by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, in Washington, D.C., and released last month found that about 1-in-4 Americans believe that Islam is a religion of hatred and violence. And almost 60% indicated that they had no or little knowledge about Islam - about the same proportion as in a 2004 CAIR survey. Despite many statements by CAIR and other American Muslim groups condemning terrorism, 63% of Americans in the CAIR poll said they did not see, hear or read about any Muslim leaders condemning terrorism."