Muslims in America are preparing to bear the brunt of a new spate of Islamophobia, despite their strong condemnation of Tuesday’s deadly terrorist attacks in the Belgian capital.
After Daesh (ISIL) claimed Brussels’ bombings, Muslim leaders in California, New York, Ohio and elsewhere in the US slammed the attacks and warned of renewed Islamophobia in the US.
Yet, on social media and even in mainstream political rhetoric from US presidential hopefuls, anger over the terror attacks has been directed at Muslims who time and again condemn groups like Daesh and disavow their actions as un-Islamic.
The aftermath of an attack “is always a difficult time for Muslims in the United States,” said Nabil Shaikh, a leader of the Muslim Students Association at Princeton University, according to the USA Today.
Also, southern California Muslim leaders on Thursday strongly denounced the attacks in Brussels that killed over 30 people and injured more than 250 others.
“I don’t call them ISIS (ISIL). I call them gangsters,” said Omer Mohammed Ali, chairman of the board of directors for the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley.
“They are thugs. They are cowards,” he said. “Why’d they kill innocent people? All I see is thugs using the name of Islam.”
Ali added that his heart goes out to victims’ families and Temecula Valley Muslims intend to pray for them during Friday prayers.
According to the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) in Washington DC, Muslim communities across North America are already bracing for a backlash from the renewed Islamophobia.
MPAC spokesperson Rabiah Ahmed told National Observer that ‘this is almost business as usual.’
“It’s something we have braced ourselves for over time when there is some kind of terrorist attack, because of the impact it has on our community,” she noted. “We do have politicians who will use these opportunities to further promote fear and prejudice against Muslims at a time when the Muslim community already feels marginalized.”
On Tuesday, two explosions ripped through the international departure hall of the Zaventem Airport in Brussels. One blast hit near the American Airlines check-in desk and the other one near a coffee shop.
An hour later, another bomb went off at the Maelbeek metro station, 10 kilometers away, and close to European Union buildings.
In the aftermath of the attacks, US politicians, especially Republican presidential frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, were quick to call for surveillance on Muslims in America.