CAIRO – As US authorities are hunting for clues in a deadly bombing at Boston Marathon, American Muslims are growing worried of an irrational backlash against their community following the twin attacks.
"Obviously it's a matter of concern," Naeem Baig, president of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), told USA Today.
Twin bombings rocked Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least three people and injured scores.
No information is yet available about the perpetrators of the attacks or their motives.
Though US authorities were cautious about linking Muslims to the attacks, some media outlets referred to Muslims as suspects.
For instance, Fox News contributor Erik Rush tweeted that all Muslims should be killed in response to the Boston Marathon bombings.
This has sent shockwaves across the sizable minority of a possible backlash following the bombings.
"Discrimination against Muslims has been a real dynamic in the United States," said Christina Warner, campaign director of Shoulder-to-Shoulder, a national interfaith alliance of Muslims, Jews and Christians who combat anti-Muslim prejudice.
"We've already seen some reports falsely identifying the perpetrator as a Saudi individual when he was just a witness."
Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to from 7-8 million Muslims.
Since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, many Muslims have complained of facing discrimination and stereotypes in the society because of their Islamic attires or identities.
Muslim leaders lament that some Americans tend to link Muslims to any acts of violence in the country.
“On one hand, some want to jump on the bashing of Muslims and Islam because those are coded words for saying ‘Islam is the problem,’” Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles, said.
“On the other hand, Al-Qaeda is a real threat. But terrorism has no religion.”
Muslim leaders, however, hailed the cautious reaction of US media to the Boston attacks.
"I see a very cautious and balanced approach from the media. It shows a lot of responsibility on their part, not jumping to conclusions," Baig, the ICNA president, said.
"And the president and his statements were very balanced and mature," Baig said. "Overall, politicians and the media have behaved responsibly."
American officials were keen on avoiding any link between Muslims and the Boston bombings.
"We should really be very cautious about using language that links these two things in any way," Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida told reporters on Tuesday.
"We know very little about Boston other than that it was obviously an act of terror.
“We don't know who carried it out or why they carried it out, and I would caution everyone to be very careful about linking the two," Rubio said.
A recent report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the University of California and Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender found that Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.
A US survey had also revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.A recent Gallup poll had found that 43 percent of Americans Nationwide admitted to feeling at least “a little” prejudice against Muslims.
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