As a non-Muslim, I have great empathy and respect for Muslims in the Western World. The overwhelming majority are good, decent people with a firm grasp of right and wrong. They care about their children, they strive to be responsible citizens, and they have absolutely no desire to harm anyone else. Pockets of bad apples exist among all groups, but the truth is, the Muslim community doesn’t deserve to be maligned, smeared or have their patriotism questioned.

Your tone should be deeply personal because evil acts are being committed in the name of your personal faith.  Be furious about it, and let the rest of the world understand that you’re mad as hell...

But this “truth” is clouded by the smoke billowing from the ashes of the Twin Towers, the barbarism of ISIS, the smoldering pyre of caged victims burnt alive, the fanaticism of Al Qaeda, the carnage of Charlie Hebdo, the butchery of Boko Haram and the ongoing plague of Islamic terrorism.

Your tone should be deeply personal because evil acts are being committed in the name of your personal faith.  Be furious about it, and let the rest of the world understand that you’re mad as hell...

By definition, “Islamophobia” refers to an irrational fear of Islam.  For many non-Muslims, a fear of Islam seems very rational, because thousands of terrorists are committing unspeakable acts of evil, and they are doing so in the name of Islam. 

If it’s irrational to fear people who seek to kill you, then rationality has no meaning.

Public Relations is strictly outcome-based, meaning it’s independent from true and false.  In a perfect world, perception and reality would perfectly overlap, but this world is far from perfect. Whether or not a perception is true (or untrue) doesn’t matter; the reality of the perception is what matters, and PR is an outcome-based endeavor. Think of it like this: Your actual character is what God/Allah knows about you; your reputation is how people perceive you. Ultimate truth is the province of the Almighty; public perception is the province of all of us.

And in much of the Western World, Islam desperately needs P.R. help.

Public perception matters because how you’re perceived impacts professional opportunities, social interactions and your quality of life.  Positive PR diminishes unfair stereotypes, removes obstacles and fosters goodwill – and that’s in everyone’s best interest.  With this in mind, here’s common sense P.R. advice for Western Muslims:

1. Acknowledge that there’s a serious problem with radical Islam.  Not acknowledging the problem is perceptually tone-deaf.  In fact, don’t just acknowledge the problem; ask for help in fighting it, because we’re all in this together.  Condemning crazy, radicalized interpretations of Islam doesn’t diminish how Islam is perceived; it exponentially strengthens it.

2. Differentiate mainstream Islam from radical Islam, and publicly “excommunicate” radicals from your religion.  In explicit terms that are utterly impossible to misconstrue, demonstrably “divorce” the radicals from any connection to mainstream Islam – with no qualifiers, exceptions or equivocations.  Explain that you love your faith because it helps you be a humbler person, a more loving parent and a better citizen.  Then declare that you wholeheartedly reject the radicalized interpretations espoused by the terrorists, because slaughtering innocent people, stripping citizens of their civil liberties and trying to force your views on everyone else is the antithesis of true Islam.  It’s arrogant, destructive and evil – and as a Muslim, you deplore it.

3. Express personalized moral outrage over Islamic terrorism.  Your tone should be deeply personal because evil acts are being committed in the name of your personal faith.  Be furious about it, and let the rest of the world understand that you’re mad as hell, and you hate the bastards who’ve blasphemed Islam’s name.

4.Vow to fight Islamic-inspired terrorism to the best of your ability.  Other Westerners want to be reassured that this fight matters deeply to you – that you have no desire to be subjected to a fanatical interpretation of Sharia law. You value religious freedom, love your neighbors and think it’s absurd that fanatics are battling to the death because they disagree about what happens after we die. The primary victims of radical Islam are Muslims, and we must all stay unified in the West to banish this scourge from the face of the earth.

5. Express gratitude to the global community, particularly Western military veterans.  In addition to civilian victims, thousands of Western “infidels” in uniform have sacrificed their lives on the battlefield so that Muslims may live free of tyranny.  You might not agree with the politicians who ordered these soldiers into battle, but that doesn’t negate the magnitude of their sacrifice.  Supporting charities like Wounded Warriors or Veteran’s Airlift Command, or donating your time for veteran causes, is a wonderful way to express your gratitude.  A simple “thank you” goes a long way.

Harper Lee wrote in "To Kill a Mockingbird," “Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of [another].”  The same could surely be said of the Torah, the Koran or any Book of Scripture.  Evil can be committed in the name of any faith or any cause, but when it’s committed in the name of your specific faith, you have a specific obligation to specifically condemn it.  It’s the right thing to do.

And sometimes, the best P.R. is doing the right thing.

Scott Pinsker is a marketing and branding expert, an author and a celebrity publicist. He is also author of a novel, "The Second Coming: A Love Story," Pinsker lives in Tampa Bay, Florida.