One of the aspects of the debate surrounding the proposed Mosque and community center near Ground Zero is the perception Americans have on Islam according to one expert on the religion.

Rashed Nizam, Chairman of the Shura Council of the Islamic Center of Central Missouri, says people need to separate the religion of Islam from those who practice it… and avoid painting everyone of a certain belief with the same brush.

AUDIO: Nizam statement [mp3]

A recent poll by the Pew Research Center shows a growing number of Americans, 38 percent, have unfavorable views on Islam.

–David Gaines, KFRU, contributed to this report.