To some Boston Muslims, anger; others embraced
BOSTON — Muslims have felt a mix of resentment and warmth since Monday's deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon.
Those who spoke outside the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center — the largest mosque in New England — said animosity from strangers is nowhere near as intense as it was after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but it's there.
“People are physically harassing people. A friend of mine was pushed off the train onto the floor Tuesday because she was Muslim,” said Lena, 20, of Roxbury, who wears an orange hijab.
She declined to give her last name because she doesn't want to draw attention to herself.
“I was shocked (by the bombing) just like every other American. I prayed against the person who did it, whether he was Muslim or not.”
Boston police referred questions about the prevalence of such incidents to a representative who did not return messages seeking comment.
Jawad Benazzi, facility director at the mosque, said he joins Imam William Suhaib Webb in condemning the attack and has prayed for the perpetrator's capture.
“This is the worst situation there can be. It's an atrocity,” said Benazzi, who was born in France. “A lot of Muslims fear backlashes will come against them just because they're Muslim.”
Benazzi said the bombing reminded his wife of the curses and insults she endured after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In tears Monday night after the bombing, she worried the abuse would return, he said.
“But what we've seen is many people coming together,” Benazzi said. “People are starting to understand extremism versus people like you and me. Yes, I pray five times a day, but that doesn't make you different from me.”
Letters and emails arrived from neighbors, synagogues and churches offering support and encouragement, not derision, said Suzan El-Rayess, development director at the mosque.
One group of non-Muslim women offered to escort Muslim women to stores and restaurants in case anyone tried to harass them, El-Rayess said.
About 1,000 people attend services at the mosque on Malcolm X Boulevard.
Among them are marathon runners, a doctor who helped treat the wounded in the marathon's main medical tent and a surgical resident at Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center who helped manage treatment of injured runners and spectators, El-Rayess said.
Benazzi said though he was born elsewhere, he thinks of himself as a Bostonian and an American.
“We can't wait to find out who did this,” Benazzi said. “He needs to be brought to justice and be punished.”
Jeremy Boren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7935 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Project 15206 finds goals for rain
- Komen acceptance of drilling-linked money raises ire
- Man arrested after showing up at hospital with gunshot wounds
- Ferrante trial: Cyanide order form in plain sight
- Corbett, Wolf resort to sticks, stones to attract attention
- Public servants honored in Pittsburgh for extraordinary responses
- Curry Hollow Shopping Center has buyer
- Wilkinsburg couple arrested after baby girl dies following beating
- Review: Tortelier’s golden touch full of personality, grandeur
- State’s ‘public-private’ transportation deal will replace 53 bridges in Allegheny County
- Film Office announces two Downtown road closures Monday