I think it's vital that you understand a religion and the context of its beliefs and practices eg. "Catholics pray to saints" and "Muslims blow themselves up". Making generalisations about a religion that you have little or no understanding of leads to conflict.
I was raised in a Catholic family and was amazed when I left home to find many people, who were not Catholics, making statements about Catholicism - a religion they had no first hand experience of, yet felt very righteous and confident and all-knowing about all things Catholic. Truly a miracle that they knew so much!
Islam cops a fair bit of abuse and yet I'm pretty sure the vast majority of commentators know virtually nothing about Islam.
I think understanding and accepting that we all march to the beat of a different drum and must find our way while respecting each others' differences is a vital step towards a happier world.