HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Call it a conference on Islamophobia sponsored by Pax Christi Houston, Dominican Sisters of Houston, Council on American Islamic Relations Houston, Center For the Healing of Racism, Houston Peace and Justice Center. Mustafaa Carroll with CAIR Houston says the problem is on the rise.
“Islamophobia is just a pure hatred of Muslims and Islam," explains Carroll. "They're (people) getting a lot of misinformation.” He also says there have been 80 anti-mosque incidents in 2015 compared to just 53 in 2014. He believes that all Muslims are being judged based on the barbaric acts of the extremists, like the ones in Paris or San Bernardino.
“They believe that all the Muslims are out to kill them or hurt them or lie to them or cheat them or do something that's the belief and that's a stereotype," adds Carroll. "We got people in all different groups doing the same thing. We had over 355 mass murders here in this country I don't hear the same type of angst about that."
By bringing different religions together to start a dialogue -- Catholicism, Judaism and others -- the road to better understanding opens.
“There's a lot of intellectual laziness on the part of people where they don't want to do the hard work of understanding of the religions," said Deacon Sam Dunning with the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
The groups encourage people to take the time to meet people from different religions face-to-face to develop their own views.
“I have a lot of neighbors who are Muslim and they are good people,” said Tania Dominguez, who attended the event. “I think we should understand more where our fear and hatred is coming from.”
For more information, visit http://www.islamophobia.org/.