Bay Area Muslims Friday condemned the Boston Marathon bombings and braced for possible retaliatory attacks following the identification of the suspects as Chechen Muslims, according to civil rights and advocacy groups.
The Northern California Islamic Council Friday issued a statement expressing “shock and disbelief” over the bombings that killed three people and injured many others near the finish line of the race on Monday.
“We are outraged at the dreadful and senseless attacks,” said NCIC chairman Hatem Bazian.
“These acts of violence and terror have no place in Islam, which condemns such acts—in strongest possible terms—that takes lives of innocent people or causes pain and suffering,” Bazian said.
Authorities today identified the suspects as brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The identification of the bombing suspects as Muslims has left many Muslims fearing violence, similar to what occurred in the wake of incidents like the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, according to Zahra Billoo, executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ San Francisco Bay Area chapter.
There have already been some attacks against Muslims in other parts of the country, Billoo said.
Locally, there have been two reports of hate speech incidents where residents were shouted at and threatened, but there have been no reports of violence, she said.
“[Muslim] people in the Bay Area are reporting that they feel really on edge and nervous about being out in public,” Billoo said. “It just takes one incident and the trickle-down effect on our community is immediate.”
Billoo said that, based on past experiences, she is advising members of the Muslim community to take precautions, such as checking security measures and avoiding walking alone at night.
“It is never right to paint one community broadly based on the actions of a few,” Billoo said. “American Muslims, what we really want to do is to mourn with our fellow Americans. It’s unfortunate that this is taking attention away from the victims of this attack.”
The bombings were also denounced as a “cowardly attack” by the national branch of CAIR in Washington, D.C., as police continued a manhunt today in Boston for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose older brother Tamerlan was killed early this morning in a firefight with authorities.
CAIR national executive director Nihad Awad urged Americans to stay united in the face of the tragedy.
“Americans today are united in condemning terrorism and in the conviction that those responsible for the terrorist attacks in Boston must face justice,” Awad said.
“We will not turn on each other in the acts of false vengeance we have witnessed after other tragedies in the past,” he said.