Athman: We sponsored a poll in 2006, which showed
that when Americans were asked about their perception about Muslims and Islam, it was found that more
than one-quarter of respondents agreed with stereotypes that Muslims teach hate, that Muslims value life
less than others.
When asked what comes to mind when they hear
“Muslim,” 32 percent of the respondents had negative
comments. Only 2 percent had positive responses.
You don’t know this person, so you make your
decisions or perceptions based on what you hear from
others. Those who actually know about Islam or know
a Muslim friend or a neighbor tend to have a different
attitude toward Muslims.
Bennett: You do have a minority group of bigots, but I
think it is important to understand that most of what
is going on is not about bigotry, it is about ignorance.
You need to have firm policies in place. In fact, we
found that a written policy reduces the bias in terms
of religion, but only 4 percent of companies have a
written policy about religion.
Page: There is a lack of knowledge of the Muslim faith.
The stereotypical person, when they see you, they do
not understand your dress. They don’t understand
your look, and they say, “This is America.” When I
wear a clergy collar, they make presumptions. When
I was in the seminary, they said to wear your collar
all the time. Why? Because it tells you something.
The same thing goes for our Muslim friends—there
is a mystique about it. They don’t know, they don’t
understand. What is a Muslim? What is the teaching
of Muslims? What is the understanding of Muslims?
Education is key.
TOP 50 BEST PRACTICE:
EDUCATION & COMMUNICATION
Wolfe: I am not a fan of having deep religion in the
workplace. I don’t think it belongs there. The workplace is for work; that’s why it’s called work. But, on
the other hand, the world today is so much more
diverse than it was for years. Why? Because people
are coming out and saying what they are. And many