It is hard to ignore the growing fear and mistrust directed at Muslims in America. We see it in movies and on popular television series. We read about it in The Tribune’s letters to the editor and front page articles. We hear it on popular talk radio shows. And we experience it in our daily lives. As a local student group dedicated to building bridges between Muslims and non-Muslims, we have decided that it is time to speak out.

The Islamic Student Association of Paso Robles High School was founded in 2005 to promote understanding and dialogue among students and the broader community. In our short life spans, we have sponsored interfaith panel discussions, conducted school and community outreach, hosted public dinners and contributed financially to local nonprofit groups.

The tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have strained the relationships between East and West; between Islam and Judeo-Christian traditions. Coverage in the popular, mainstream media contributes to many Americans’ tendency to equate Islam with terrorism. We feel there is an undercurrent of misunderstanding of Islam in America. And we can point to the following recent examples of the deepening mistrust and prejudice toward Islam…


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