Muslims fear backlash after Boston blasts

2013-04-17 10:05
(John Mottern, AFP)

(John Mottern, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Los Angeles - US Muslims are watching closely as the probe into the Boston bombings unfolds, fearing a backlash like after 9/11 if an Islamist link is confirmed to the deadly attack.

Several Muslim groups issued statements within hours of Monday's double bombing at the Boston Marathon, strenuously condemning the attacks which killed three and injured more than 100 people.

Investigators said on Tuesday the range of possible culprits remains "wide open," as speculation ranges from home-grown right-wing or white supremacist extremists to foreign Islamist groups or an al-Qaeda type cell.

A spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair), Ibrahim Hooper, said the Muslim group had already received "the usual hate calls," but nothing major as yet - and underlined its main message was condemnation.

"You don't want to create the impression that you're more concerned about vandalism at a mosque, or something like that, than you are about a violent attack that takes the lives of individuals and injures many more," he said.

But he told AFP: "In any of these cases that's something that's in the back of our mind, that there's a possibility of a backlash. We'll just have to see how the investigation develops."

US Muslims reject extremism

The number of FBI-designated hate crimes against Muslims and Arabs in America shot up dramatically after the September 11 2001 attacks, which were quickly attributed to al-Qaeda and a team of mostly Saudi hijackers.

Amid the torrent of accurate and not-so-accurate reporting as the Boston bombing story broke on Monday, at least two news outlets inaccurately reported that a Saudi national was being held as a suspect.

No Islamist or other link has yet been confirmed. But Sahar Aziz of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) think-tank, said Muslims should be wary.

"Because the stereotype of Muslims as terrorists and disloyal has become entrenched within American culture, there is a strong likelihood that Muslims in America will face backlash if the suspect is a Muslim.

"Such backlash could take the form of hate crimes, mosque vandalisation, evictions off of airplanes, school bullying, and scapegoating in certain media outlets," she told AFP.

The Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council (Mpac) posted a link on its Facebook page to a Washington Post story headlined: "‘Please don't be a Muslim': Boston marathon blasts draw condemnation and dread in Muslim world."

"Was this thought crossing your mind today? Seems like it was for many Muslims," Mpac commented, referring to the link.

MPAC head Salam al-Marayati said: "Terrorism has no faith so it is irrelevant what the culprit will claim as his affiliation. What is relevant is the crime of terrorism, which we as Muslims have been speaking out against.

"We have confidence in our country, the United States of America, to maintain its tradition of protecting minorities and all people subjected to hate or persecution."

America's estimated 3.5 million Muslims make up fewer than 1% of the country's population, according to a study by the Pew research group published in December.

A Pew poll published before the 10th anniversary of 9/11 found that "Muslims in the United States continue to reject extremism by much larger margins than most other Muslim publics."

Read more on:    us  |  boston explosions  |  security  |  religion

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.