Imagine being an Arab or Muslim citizen in the United States. Every time a terrorist attack happens you would immediately be a suspect in the eyes of some.
Now imagine the horror of Salah Marhoum, a 17 year old student, seeing his and a friend’s picture plastered on the New York Post with the headline:
“Bag men: Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon.”
The Post later reported that the two were not in fact suspects, but young Salah now lives in fear:
But Barhoum, a track runner at Revere High School, said he is convinced some will blame him for the bombings, no matter what.
He said he was so fearful on Thursday that he ran back to the high school after a track meet when he saw a man in a car staring at him, talking into a phone. He said he won’t feel safe until the bombers are caught.
“I’m going to be scared going to school,” Barhoum said. “Workwise, my family, everything is going to be scary.”
Barhoum’s father, El Houssein Barhoum, who moved his family from Morocco five years ago, said he is worried his son will be shot and fears for his wife and two young daughters. He said he can’t go to his job as a baker in Boston.
“Right now, we are not secure,” he said. “So, the news (media), when they put something, they should be sure about the information.”
The true suspects have been caught or killed, but I suspect Salah will be watching his back for some time, just like countless other Arab and Muslim Americans.
I just received a shocking post on my Facebook from a long time friend.I have not been close to her in years-but that is not the point.It is a sign that basically states all Muslims are evil.I cannot believe this of this person.She is a nurse,and when I knew her was sweet and caring to all–if she can get to this point it is very scary.One comment on her post was anytime a Muslim woman delivers-a terrorist is born.This is awful. I unfriended her because I do not want to be associated with this in any way.I am just saying-we are in some very scary times.When are all of us going to learn-we are all people world wide with the same needs and concerns.No person defines a religion all by themselves-killing is not an expression of any faith-especially of innocents.It is so,so wrong to generalize anything.What these two young men did does not represent all Muslims-or all anything.It represents two very sick young men.
Thank you Kathleen. It is hard when we hear a good friends say such terrible things. I appreciae you speaking up.
I lived in Oklahoma at the time of the Murrah Building bombing by Timothy McVeigh. I was pastor of a church not far from Oklahoma City. The day after the bombing some of us were in the city for a meeting and we were encouraged by the Bishop to go by the site, where there were still search and rescue efforts underway. The devastation was unbelievable. Neither pictures in print media nor television coverage can capture the enormity and horror of such an event. The first conclusion about the perpetrator, even back then, was that he or they were Muslim. That, of course, was not the case.
There is an interesting parallel between that situation and McVeigh and the Boston tragedy. McVeigh was an angry, young man, alienated and disaffected. He was purposeless, with a free-floating hostility that fastened on anti-government sentiments and white supremacy causes. Not too long before the bombing he spent time at Elohim City, a commune near the Oklahoma/Arkansas border that is home to a “religious” cult that has ties with the Christian militia movement. There he found a religious justification for his anger and hatred. He found people who would validate the anger and violence that already had possessed him. He found acceptance of the utterly unacceptable.
I don’t believe the tragedy in Boston had anything more to do with Islam and with the perpetrator being Muslim than the tragedy in Oklahoma had to do Christianity. There are movements within many religions to which people who are already angry at the world, disaffected, and alienated,, disturbed and violent can be attracted when they find in those movements some validation of the hatred they already feel, some purpose to justify their violent impulses.
We have in our country the so-called Christian militia movement and the Reconstructionists, who advocate violence and even train, equip, and encourage those whose hostility seeks out the justification they offer.
The older brother whom it seems planned the Boston tragedy may well have found the same kind of validation and encouragement for his hatred and disaffection during the time he spent with Muslim extremists in Russia that McVeigh found at Elohim City; but that did not create his violent purpose and the hatred at its core. I find it possible to imagine that he went there seeking an outlet for what was already driving him.
It seems to me no more appropriate to consider the militant extreme to be characteristic of Islam that it would have been to convict all of Christianity for McVeigh’s actions because of the influence of Elohim City.
Another wonderful post. Thank you.