Indian Muslims Nervous About Backlash or Persecution After Mumbai Bombings

July 14, 2006

Source: The Star

Wire Service: Reuters

On July 14, 2006 Reuters reported, "Indian officials on Thursday named Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as the prime suspect behind the coordinated bombings. LeT has long operated in Indian-ruled Kashmir, but is believed to have expanded its area of operations recently. It is blamed for bombings in New Delhi's markets in October that killed more than 60 people, as well as blasts in the holy Hindu city of Varanasi in March which killed 15. Lashkar has denied any role in what it called 'inhuman and barbaric acts'. But in a city wrought by Hindu-Muslim tensions over the last 15 years, with a history of riots, and bombings that have been blamed on Islamic extremists, Mumbai's Muslims fear a backlash from hard-line Hindus. 'If they are saying Muslims did it, then I am worried,' says 48-year-old horologist Salim Rehman tending to a clock in the confines of his tiny, cluttered shop. 'It will incite those who do not like us and there could be trouble -- some people will want to use us as targets and for their own political gains,' he adds. Others have more practical fears, concerned they will be discriminated against in terms of getting good jobs, housing and places in schools for their children. Islamic leaders say police have been too quick to point blame for the attacks and have unfairly reinforced the view that all Muslims are terrorists."