TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

To some Boston Muslims, anger; others embraced

REUTERS
Allison Petrone cries while paying her respects to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings at a memorial at the barricade surrounding the scene of the explosions in Boston on April 18, 2013. Two explosions hit the Boston Marathon as runners crossed the finish line killing at least three people and injuring over 100 others.

About Jeremy Boren
Picture Jeremy Boren 412-320-7935
Assistant Metro Editor
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


By Jeremy Boren

Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013, 11:59 p.m.

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 jboren@tribweb.com.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. Man found fatally shot in Larimer a mile away from Homewood peace march
  2. Officials ID Elizabeth Township man as West End train victim
  3. Work on tournament-class dek hockey rink in Bloomfield to begin
  4. Legal experts question prosecuting South Fayette boy for recording bullies
  5. Obama hopes to replicate CCAC job training efforts across United States
  6. South Fayette mother wants case against bullied son to be dropped
  7. Bullied South Fayette student’s case prompts wiretap overhaul legislation
  8. South Fayette parents express dissatisfaction with handling of bullying
  9. Heir of ‘Great Renegade’ Girty preserves history of Squirrel Hill settlers
  10. District attorney’s office takes paperwork from Wilkinsburg Middle School
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.