In the wake of an arrest of a Pakistani American, Faisal Shahzad, as the suspect behind the failed Times Square bombing plot, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has assured the Muslim community that any backlash against them will not be tolerated. "We will not tolerate any bias or backlash against Pakistani or Muslim New Yorkers," he said.
Fearing a backlash, major American Muslim organizations hastily held a news conference in WashingtonDC, on Tuesday, saying that the alleged actions of the Pakistani-American suspect are not representative of the nation's Muslim community. They also urged the fellow citizens not to allow the incident to be exploited to advance growing anti-Islam sentiment. "We urge that our fellow citizens and our nation's leaders reject the inevitable exploitation of this incident by those individuals and groups devoted to demonizing Islam, marginalizing American Muslims and feeding the unfortunately growing Islamophobic sentiment in our society."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Council of Muslim Organizations (CMO) in the Greater Washington, D.C., Area, Muslim American Society (MAS) and Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), in a joint statement said:
"On behalf of the American Muslim community, we condemn the attack in Times Square and thank all those who reported their suspicions, disarmed the bomb or are participating in the current investigation. We welcome the arrest of a suspect and hope that anyone involved in the attack will be apprehended and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
"American Muslims repudiate all acts of terrorism and will continue to work with local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to keep our nation safe and secure. We ask anyone who has information about this attack to contact local police and the FBI.
"In no way, shape or form does this attack represent American Muslims or what they stand for as a faith community. We must also, as a civil rights group, remind everyone that we are a nation of laws and that in our system of justice, every suspect is innocent until proven guilty."
Another leading American Muslim organization, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), while condemning the botched attack said: The attack, described by the alleged sponsors as a sort of "pay-back" or "revenge", is "inexcusable and without any justification in Islam or authentic Muslim tradition. Even the murder of a single innocent person is abhorrent and in direct contradiction to the clear and unequivocal teachings of our faith (Quran Chapter 5,Verse 32), let alone the mass murder of unsuspecting innocent bystanders in a crowded square."
ISNA urged Muslim Americans to stay true to their faith in rejecting any ideas or actions that tolerate or attempt to justify the use of terrorism for any purpose or by any group.
However, Mr. Enver Masud, the founder of the Wisdom Fund think tank and author of The War on Islam, has another take on the reaction of American Muslim civil advocacy groups. He writes:
"Assuming that the alleged perpetrator, Faisal Shahzad, 30 -- who was taken into custody at KennedyAirport on board an Emirates flight to Dubai -- is guilty, did Muslim "community leaders" stop to ask, "Why"? Apparently not, and neither did the news media, despite nonstop coverage of the event for several days.
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