The same week that the New York Post first falsely reported the Boston bombing suspect was a Saudi national then falsely put a Moroccan-American track runner on its cover, it accurately reported on Friday an attack on an innocent Bangladeshi man living in the Bronx who some "idiots" mistook for an Arab. Abdullah Faruque, a South Asian network engineer, was at an Applebees on Monday night when he was accosted by a group of three or four men, reports the Post, after they asked if he was an Arab. It wasn't until he got home, his shoulder dislocated, that he found out about the bombing at the Boston Marathon. “I saw the news, and then it hits me: That’s why I got jumped,” he told the Post.
It's possible for this sort of baseless revenge to happen, with or without the Post's help. But it's worth wonderng where these men— and the one who assaulted a Muslim doctor in Boston, and the ones who vandalized the future site of a Boston mosque—got the idea for taking out revenge on a "dark skinned male" in the wake of the bombing.
The Muslim community expects it, at this point. "A certain routine has emerged, in which some Muslims seem compelled to make clear that they denounce the violence and consider it a violation of Islam — often even before the attacker's religion is determined," Max Fisher wrote over at The Washington Post. Rather than sit back while people (and journalists) speculate, they attempt to distance the religion as a whole from the situation. Circulating false information about the identities of suspects in major newspapers and TV networks kind of counteracts those efforts.
At this point it's still not quite clear the link between the suspects and Islam, but even so the Islamic community is preempting more negative responses like the unfortunate revenge attacks this week. Dzhokhar Tsaraev listed Islam on a social media profile, and his deceased brother may have posted a video associated with Al Qaeda. Though, the endearing uncle of the two suspects assured the media today that the actions have nothing to do with Islam. Yet, the mutterings of the word "muslim" going around today have already led to a heightened awareness from the Muslim American community about further retaliation. Several American Muslim groups came out Friday condemning the attacks, including a Boston mosque, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Masjid At-Tawheed of York, and Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.