NEW YORK — It looked like the backlash was starting even before the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing were identified as Muslim.
Hours after the explosions, a Bangladeshi man told police he was dubbed an “Arab” and beaten in New York. A veiled Muslim woman in a city near Boston said she was struck in the shoulder and called a terrorist. When the public learned days later that the FBI was pursuing two Muslim men of Chechen descent, American Muslims feared the worst.
But the worst didn’t happen.
Muslim civil rights leaders say the anti-Islam reaction has been more muted this time than after other attacks since Sept. 11, which had sparked outbursts of vandalism, harassment and violence. Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which monitors bias and hate crimes against Muslims, said his organization has seen no uptick in reports of harassment, assaults or damage to mosques since the April 15 bombings. Leaders noted a larger, broader chorus of Americans warning against placing collective blame. [Read more...]