Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Muslims hoping Islamophobia doesn’t rise in light of Boston attacks

Chicago Muslims on Friday condemned the Boston attacks and said they hope anti-Muslim sentiment doesn’t rear its ugly head.

“Our focus is on the true victims — the ones who are hurting, the ones who are bleeding, the ones who unfortunately have died — and we don’t want to be drawn into fending for ourselves in this time,” said Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “We want to grieve in peace like everybody else.”

Rehab gathered with a group of interfaith leaders to make the plea.

“Unfortunately there have been cases of harassment and even violence that are directly linked to retaliation for the Boston bombings,” Rehab said.

Nationwide, there have been some assaults on people simply because of their faith and in Chicago, a man was harassed on the CTA Brown Line, Rehab said.

The two brothers suspected of Boston Marathon bombings are Muslim. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a shootout with police. His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev 19, led police on a massive manhunt that ended Friday night.

“For those who have this urging desire to extend individual culpability of a criminal or two or even more to an entire faith community, this guilt by association, this mass guilt, you don’t need to go as far as their faith community, in fact you don’t even need to go further than their family,” Rehab said, pointing to statements made by the men’s uncle on Friday.

Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., called his nephews “losers” and condemned their alleged actions.