US Mus­lims fac­ing back­lash af­ter Paris at­tacks

Is­lam­o­pho­bia on the rise

Kuwait Times - - INTERNAT IONAL -

HART­FORD, Con­necti­cut: Mus­lims around the US are fac­ing back­lash fol­low­ing the deadly at­tacks in Paris, in­clud­ing van­dal­ism to mosques and Is­lamic cen­ters, hate-filled phone and on­line mes­sages and threats of violence. Ad­vo­cacy lead­ers say they have come to ex­pect some anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment fol­low­ing such at­tacks, but they now see a spike that seems no­table, stirred by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment in the me­dia.

“The pic­ture is get­ting in­creas­ingly bleak,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Wash­ing­ton­based Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Is­lamic Re­la­tions. “There’s been an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of anti-Is­lamic rhetoric in our lives and that I think has trig­gered th­ese overt acts of violence and van­dal­ism.” He said the rise in the level of anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment is re­flected by some Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates, gov­er­nors and oth­ers speak­ing out in op­po­si­tion to the US ac­cept­ing more Syr­ian refugees.

Hooper said the coun­cil is see­ing an in­crease in an­tiMus­lim in­ci­dents since Fri­day’s at­tacks in Paris that killed 129 peo­ple and wounded more than 350. In Con­necti­cut, the FBI and lo­cal po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing re­ports of mul­ti­ple gun­shots fired at the Baitul Aman mosque in Meri­den hours af­ter the at­tacks. Lead­ers of the mosque don’t know the mo­tive of the shooter or shoot­ers, said Salaam Bhatti, a spokesman for the Ah­madiyya Mus­lim Com­mu­nity in New York, to which the mosque be­longs. The Ah­madiyya Mus­lim Com­mu­nity is a move­ment within Is­lam.

Bhatti said the shoot­ing has not rat­tled mosque mem­bers. He said many are from Pak­istan, where con­di­tions for the Ah­madiyya move­ment are much worse. “It’s a teach­able mo­ment,” Bhatti said. “As we do raise aware­ness of at­tacks in mosques, we will see mosques do not re­spond in violence. Is­lam teaches us to teach peace.”

At the Univer­sity of Con­necti­cut, au­thor­i­ties are in­ves­ti­gat­ing af­ter the words “killed Paris” were dis­cov­ered on Satur­day writ­ten be­neath an Egyp­tian stu­dent’s name on his dorm room door. Mus­lim lead­ers also have re­ported re­cent van­dal­ism, threats and other hate crimes tar­get­ing mosques in Ne­braska, Florida, Texas, Ken­tucky, Vir­ginia, Ten­nessee, Ohio, New York and other states.

Af­ter the Paris at­tacks:

The Omaha Is­lamic Cen­ter in Ne­braska re­ported that some­one spray-painted a rough out­line of the Eif­fel Tower on an out­side wall. The Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Is­lamic Re­la­tions has called for the FBI and lo­cal po­lice to in­ves­ti­gate the in­ci­dent as a pos­si­ble hate crime, and they’re do­ing just that, ac­cord­ing to Nasir Hu­sain, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the cen­ter. Mus­lims in the cen­tral U.S. city are afraid, he said.

In a sub­urb of Austin, Texas, lead­ers of the Is­lamic Cen­ter of Pflugerville on Mon­day dis­cov­ered fe­ces and torn pages of the Qu­ran that had been thrown at the door of the mosque. Mus­lim lead­ers also en­cour­aged au­thor­i­ties to in­ves­ti­gate the act as a hate crime.

In a sub­urb of Hous­ton, Texas, au­thor­i­ties on Tues­day ar­rested a man ac­cused of threat­en­ing on so­cial me­dia to “shoot up a mosque.” He was charged with making a ter­ror­is­tic threat, a felony. — AP

SOUTH MERI­DEN, Con­necti­cut: A mem­ber of the Ah­madiyya com­mu­nity of Con­necti­cut walks past the Baitul Aman mosque, where po­lice and the FBI had been in­ves­ti­gat­ing re­ports of mul­ti­ple gun­shots fired at the mosque dur­ing the week­end. — AP

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