I've recently been thinking about the phenomenon of religious intolerance. Not too long ago I found myself in a very uncomfortable situation. I was teaching a class on the origins of Islam, and one of my students asked a very loaded question. Specifically, "why are Muslims so violent?"
On one level, this question troubled me. At its root was the misconception that the majority of Muslims engage in violent acts. Yet I also understood how this student arrived at such a conclusion. After all, he has lived most of his life in a region where there are very few Muslims. His primary exposure to the Islamic faith (prior to taking my class) consisted of news reports on terrorists. So I couldn't fault him for arriving at this conclusion initially.
But this got me thinking: how much religious intolerance is really simple ignorance? How much is actually based out of true hatred? Or do the two go together?
Have you personally experienced religious intolerance? In your estimation, was it based on ignorance, or something more sinister?