CAIRO - Decrying hostile campaigns targeting their community following the Boston attacks, American Muslims are calling for not scapegoating the sizable minority for the actions of individuals.
I think that a lot of stereotypes are that Muslims are violent or terrorists or criminals," Rugiatu Conteh, the communications and outreach director for the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
"I think for a lot of people, it kind confirms those stereotypes."
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Hostile rhetoric against American Muslims has been on the rise since last week's twin bombings in Boston, which left three people dead.
Immediately after the bombings, fear mongers took to social networks to heap blame and criticism on the Muslim minority, even before the perpetrators were identified.
The first attack came from Fox News contributor Erik Rush, who tweeted that all Muslims should be killed in response to the Boston Marathon bombings.
The campaigns escalated after the perpetrators were found to be Muslims of Chechen origin.
Some, like Republican Representatives Steve King and Louie Gohmert, used the attacks to call for halting plans to reform immigration policies on claims of fighting terrorism.
They justified their calls that radical Muslims were training in Mexico to learn how to do Hispanic things and sneak across the border and kill Americans.
Another Republican Peter King has also called for putting the whole Muslim community under surveillance.
"We strongly urge all Americans to reject scapegoating groups or targeting innocent Americans based on their racial, ethnic or religious identity," Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, said in a statement.
Guilt by Association
Community leaders have lamented that some right-wing groups are using the Boston attacks to advance their agendas against Muslims.
"We believe it is a positive sign that the vast majority of Americans have rejected the type of guilt by association advocated by extremist commentators seeking to exploit the tragic events in Boston to further their personal agendas, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net.
As a nation, we have learned to judge a person based on their actions, not on their faith or ethnicity."
The advocacy group says it is seeking to reach out people to counter Islamophobic campaigns.
"Just because there is some sort of association to being Muslim, that doesn't mean you can really generally say that Muslims are violent," Conteh said.
"People just need to be aware that there's good and bad people in all faiths."
Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to from 7-8 million Muslims.
An earlier Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their future in the United States.
Since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, many Muslims have complained of facing discrimination and stereotypes in the society because of their Islamic attires or identities.A recent report by the umbrella Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has found that Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net