American Muslims fear backlash of Islamophobia following San Bernardino shootings
Muslims from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community pray at the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino, California on December 3, 2015, where people attended a prayer vigil to commemorate lives lost a day after the tragedy in San Bernardino. (AFP/Frederic J. Brown)
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Muslim communities in the US have expressed concern over a new wave of Islamophobia following the recent mass shooting in California.
On Wednesday, a couple armed with rifles and handguns attacked a center for people with developmental disabilities in San Bernardino, California, killing at least 14 people and wounding 21 others in the deadliest mass shooting in the United States in three years.
Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 27, were killed in a shootout with police after Wednesday's mass shooting.
Farook has been described as a second-generation American born in Illinois and raised by Pakistani parents while Malik was born in Pakistan and lived in Saudi Arabia until she met Farook, according to Reuters.
Muslims all across the US are now worried that the allegations about the shooters’ past bring more discrimination upon them.
US President Barack Obama said Thursday that there is a “possibility” that the mass shooting was an act of terrorism.
Muslim community groups have condemned the San Bernardino massacre, urging the public not to blame Islam or Muslims.
"The Muslim community stands shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Americans in repudiating any twisted mindset that would claim to justify such sickening acts of violence," Hussam Ayloush, an executive director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said.
Some Muslims say they have felt singled out by the 2016 US presidential contenders that have been on an anti-Islamic rampage during the recent weeks.
Republican front-runner and real estate mogul Donald Trump drew a lot of criticism when he said Muslims need special IDs and a national database to keep them in check.
Trump’s closest rival, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson also said in September that Muslims were unfit for the presidency of the America despite having a 2.8 million population in the country.
Since last month’s coordinated attacks in Paris that killed about 130 people, there have been a series of anti-Muslim incidents reported in the US, including terror threats to Florida mosques, vandalism at a Nebraska mosque, shots fired at a Florida Muslim family’s home, hate graffiti targeting a Connecticut Muslim student, a tweet threatening Michigan Muslims, and innumerable hate messages sent online and by phone.
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