In his New York Times opinion piece Islamophobia and Homophobia, Robert Wright argues that Christians have become less homophobic over the decades as a result of the “bridging model,” which says that interfaith acceptance is mostly a question of getting to know people. Once people become familiar with the “other” and start to form meaningful relationships, they begin to change their previous attitudes.
I grew up on the Southside of Chicago where your identity was highly connected to which church parish you belonged to. Everyone was Catholic; it was all I knew. My faith taught me to accept others, but without any real interaction with people of other faiths, I never had the opportunity to put this belief into action.
Then 9/11 happened. All of a sudden, Islam was cast into the national spotlight. I truly didn’t know the first thing about Islam, but I did know that I was scared of what was happening around me.