Columbia, S.C. Muslims Fear Backlash After Foiled Terror Plot

August 12, 2006

Source: The State

On August 12, 2006 The State reported, "Just as in the days after the 9/11 attacks, Columbia Muslim leaders find themselves in the disquieting, untenable position of distancing themselves from radical Islamic elements associated with the London terrorist plot. 'We feel helpless that a fringe element is kind of hijacking the faith,' Mirza Baig, a member of the Islamic Center of Columbia, said Friday. 'It disgraces the faith.' Muslims have worked hard to educate Americans that Islam is a peaceful faith that condemns the taking of human life. So when Imam Omar Shaheed, spiritual leader of the Masjid Al-Salaam on Monticello Road, heard the news of terrorists’ attempt to blow up passenger jets, he was devastated. 'We can have a dialogue. We can talk to people,' he said. But in a situation like this, 'the impact is so great that it overwhelms any interfaith gathering.' As the area’s 1,500 Muslims gathered for prayer Friday, there was heightened concern and apprehension that believers would once again have to explain and justify their faith. 'We just have to continue to do what good people of religion do — promote good and work for good, the common good,' Shaheed said. 'We can’t afford for our mosque to become isolated.'"