Is there a hidden reason why Americans view Islam unfavorably?

Is there a hidden reason why Americans view Islam unfavorably?
Sunnis in Iraq protest "U.S.-imposed laws" in 2013. (Image: AP, Bilal Fawzi via NYT)

Yesterday, YouGov and the Huffington Post released a poll showing that large majorities of Americans — and pluralities across every political demographic — have an “unfavorable opinion” of the Islamic faith. The numbers are simply not close…

I wonder if the media is missing a powerful, largely-uncovered influence on America’s hearts and minds — the experience and testimony of the more than two million Americans who’ve served overseas since 9/11 and have experienced Islamic cultures up-close.

Yes, they were in the middle of a war — but speaking from my own experience — the war was conducted from within a culture that was shockingly broken. I expected the jihadists to be evil, but even I couldn’t fathom the depths of their depravity. And it was all occurring against the backdrop of a brutally violent and intolerant culture. Women were beaten almost as an afterthought, there was a near-total lack of empathy for even friends and neighbors, lying was endemic, and sexual abuse was rampant. Even more disturbingly, it seemed that every problem was exacerbated the more religious and pious a person (or village) became.

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