Dr. David Liepert
Special to CNN
Immediately before 9-11, al Qaeda was considered almost below most Americans' notice. One Washington Post/ABC News poll found that in early 2002, only 14 percent of Americans thought Islam encouraged violence.
These days, the popular perception of Islam is dominated by al Qaeda and its radical agenda. Al Qaeda has grown into a monster that dominates the American psyche, and many non-Muslims fear that the majority of Muslims are bent on violent takeover.
Throughout the last decade, the mainstream majority of Muslims have seemed almost silent, but today that all changes.
As of this writing, 38 of the 50 Islamic scholars who make up Canada's Muslim mainstream leadership have signed the Canadian Council of Imams Declaration, released today. More names will follow. These signatories will lead Muslim communities onto a path of active engagement, taking back Islam and claiming it for multicultural peace.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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