Islamophobia is a problem. Not only does it lack a nuanced perspective concerning lived Islam—in all its dizzying complexity—it also takes shape in both vitriolic rhetoric and physical violence against Muslims. Its roots are founded in ignorance of “Islam 101” and a fear of the religion as a fundamentalist figment of Western imagination.
While the sentiment behind the “experiment” is laudable—trying to show people that prejudice precedes much of our judgment on Islam and other world views—the methodology is defunct and even dangerous. My fear is that instead of combatting religious illiteracy, such efforts could be compounding the problem.
To dispel such misconceptions about Islam, the Dutch YouTube sensation Dit Is Normaal conducted “a social experiment” disguising the Bible as a Quran and hitting the streets of the Netherlands to ask people their opinion of certain verses. The video then went viral, with nearly 6 million views so far.