The People Speak Hosts online discussion on U.S. – Muslim World Relations

Washington, D.C.

November 15, 2006


Megan Rabbitt

In recognition of the International Day of Tolerance, The People Speak (TPS) hosted an online discussion Thursday, November 16 with students from all over the United States about U.S.-Muslim world relations.

Muslim American college students from the Americans for Informed Democracy “Hope not Hate” program answered questions and discussed their perspectives on topics including:

Do American Muslims feel torn between supporting their country and practicing their religion?

What are the levels of tolerance and understanding between Muslims and Americans?
Do Muslim students feel comfortable on U.S. campuses?

What would it take to improve relations both in the U.S. and around the world?

Students discussed their personal experiences regarding hostility aimed at Muslims. Munzareen Padela, a sophomore at Stony Brook University, wrote that she finds New York a generally accepting society. She went on to say, “After I started to wear hijab, however, things started to change. Though there have been many positive aspects, such as people smiling and greeting you, being granted a bit more respect, there are also some not so cheerful events. I’ve been spit at and cursed at, stared at and yelled at. ”

When asked about balancing life as a first generation Jordanian-American, Toka Nusairat, a recent graduate of George Mason University, writes, “It is hard for some people to understand that I feel like I can practice my religion more freely in the U.S. than in Jordan, and express myself better here. When I am in Jordan, I am of course subject to discussions related to America and find myself defending the U.S. a lot despite the fact that I might be criticizing US policies when I’m living here.”

“The goal of the TPS online discussion was to provide an opportunity for dialogue on the state of relations between the Western and Islamic worlds. We are proud to provide a venue which allows individuals from all over the globe to interact with each other,” states Victoria Baxter, Director of The People Speak.


About the People Speak 
Launched in October 2003, The People Speak was created to raise awareness and initiate discourse about international issues and the United Nations’ role in the world. Since its inception The People Speak has sponsored more than 19,500 events reaching individuals in all 50 states and 46 countries. Working with partner organizations, the program continues to develop new ways to increase discourse and reach people of all ages in communities across the U.S. and around the World.

With an estimated 14,000 events taking place in all 50 states and in more than 50 countries around the world, there is no shortage of ways to participate. TPS events span from town hall meetings to movie screenings to global videocasts. Additionally, the TPS website invites people across the globe to join online discussions, take part in live Q&A sessions, post guest blogs, submit podcasts and share photos of events, contemplate the question of the week or just read what your peers have to say. For more, visit

Media Contact:

Amy DiElsi, Press Secretary, 202.419.3230,