With all the discrepancies relayed in the media and by word of mouth explaining (incorrectly) Islam and Muslim beliefs to others that don't know any better has gotten well out of control.
Being a black woman and knowing about all the stereotypes there are about black people and the racism that is very much alive and well, I've actually felt and experienced more hate as a Muslim within the last year than ever in my 30 years being black.
That being said I want to relay a story that will show you the very essence of Islam and the peace that it's meant to bring and instill in it's followers.
Uncle Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib:
During the Battle of Uhud (625) a woman Hind bint Utbah hired a man to kill the prophet (PBUH) or some one close to him. This was an effort to retaliate to the deaths of her father and brother during the battle of Badr. Success! Her hired hand was able to kill the prophet's (PBUH) Uncle Hamza. But it wasn't enough that he was killed she had to rub it in and get in another jab at the prophet (PBUH). So after the battle she proceeded to eating (yes, eating) Hamza's liver out of his body.
Four years later (629) after the Muslims were successful in returning to Makkah Hind bint Uthbah's husband Abu Sufyan ibn Harb had converted to Islam, but she was afraid of what was going to be done to her for what she did to the prophet (PBUH). She thought she would have to be a shut in for the rest of her life to stay safe.
However in the three years (632) that the prophet (PBUH) lived after his return to Makkah he never so much as spoke a bad word against Hind bint Uthbah. She was allowed to live in peace and travel throughout the city without even an evil eye given from any Muslims. With the kindness she was shown Hind accepted the message of Islam and is now considered to be among the ranks of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
PBUH - Peace Be Upon Him