British Muslims Worried of Backlash After Failed Terrorist Attacks

July 1, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: International Herald Tribune

Wire Service: AP

LONDON: Name-calling, anxiety, fear and anger rippled through Britain after three failed bomb attacks in London and Glasgow. Government and religious leaders appealed for calm, but some Muslims braced for a backlash — while some non-Muslims looked for someone to blame.

The attacks sparked scattered incidents of racist abuse on the streets of London, with young white men targeting Muslim taxi drivers and others of South Asian appearance. Glasgow lawmaker Mohammad Sarwar said some Muslims in Scotland had been threatened or targeted with abusive graffiti.

"I have spoken to a number of people from the Muslim community and the Asian community who feel very angry," he told British Broadcasting Corp. radio on Sunday.

He said Scottish Muslim leaders were meeting in Glasgow to discuss the attacks' impact on their community.

"They're concerned about a backlash and that's why the emergency meeting has been called."

Muslim anger was directed at the terrorists — but also at a society some felt singles Muslims out for scrutiny whenever there is a terrorist attack.

"We are seething with anger about this," said Osama Saeed, Scottish spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain.

"As a community not only are we just as likely to be victims as anyone else, but we are also looked to in order to provide direction and in some respects take responsibility for this," he added.

"We are sick of being defined as a community by terrorism and having to answer for it."