Personal Interactions Are the Antidote for Hate


Personal Interactions Are
the Antidote for Hate

Kicking off our Ramadan 2014 fundraising campaign, we will be featuring a new ING video each week throughout the month of Ramadan that will highlight the impact of ING’s work. We begin with Paul Spitzmueller, who is a world religions teacher at Bellarmine College Preparatory School in San Jose. Paul has hosted ING interfaith panels for the last eight years. Here he shares the impact of ING’s work in dispelling stereotypes about Muslims through personal interactions:

“I had a student confide to me that his parents thought the Islamic world was a violent world, and as a result of the [ING] panel, ‘we’re seeing a totally different face of Islam.’”

– Paul Spitzmueller

ING’s Recent Impact Report Illustrates the Power of Personal Interactions


impactreportPersonal contact with members of a different group dispels prejudice and stereotypes—that’s the outcome of decades of sociological research, as summarized in a recent article “How Muslims Pose a Threat to Hate Groups ,” which points out that “even imagining an interaction with a member of an unfamiliar group can reduce one’s bias toward that group.” And the encounters that ING fosters aren’t just in the imagination.

The research displayed in our 2012-2014 Impact Report shows that ING face-to-face presentations bring about dramatic changes in attitudes towards Muslims and Islam. On the one issue of Islam and violence raised by Paul Spitzmueller, for instance, our surveys show that after an ING presentation:

  • The percentage of those who believe Islam promotes violence/terrorism falls by 70%
  • The percentage of those who believe Islam promotes peace rises by 33%
  • The percentage of those who believe Islam is intolerant of other religions decreases by 47%


Save the Date!
ING Ramadan Dinner
Sunday, July 13


ING‘s annual Ramadan dinner will be on Sunday, July 13th at the Muslim Community Center in Pleasanton. The event will feature Bay Area scholar and activist Usama Canon and ING founder and trustee Maha Elgenaidi. They will discuss the important and timely topic of First Principles in Islam. To learn more or register see here.