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Oslo blasts: Muslims feel sting of initial blame

July 24, 2011 - US

Right-wing websites have quickly pointed the finger at "jihadis," for the recent terror strikes in Norway that claimed 92 lives on Friday.

Pamela Geller, publisher of the website Atlas Shrugs and executive director of Stop Islamization of America, was quoted by the Los Angeles Times, as saying on her site: "You can ignore jihad, but you cannot avoid the consequences of ignoring jihad."

This is predictable and something that we have come to expect, but it is sad," said Safaa Zarzour, secretary general of the Islamic Society of North America.

"For most Muslims, it is a confirmation of how they already feel, that they are guilty until proven innocent," Zarzour added.

Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, worried that the impulse to blame Muslims could lead to further inflaming anti-Muslim sentiment and fueling platforms built upon the demonization of her community.

"I really view it as a wake-up call. Violence comes from all groups, and singling out one faith community as a target, as much of our society appears to have done, makes us more vulnerable," Khera said.

When attackers are not Muslim, the attack often is not given the "terrorism" label, Khera said, and people think, " 'Oh well, it is an isolated incident, or it is a deranged gunman,' whereas in the case of a Muslim, there is an immediate impulse to understand the person's faith or ideology," she said.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council on Friday had released a statement on how counter-terrorism trainers who use hate speech directed at Muslims ultimately hurt American national security.


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