I am willing to admit that I prayed for the bombers not to be Muslim. Why? Not because it would make any of the deaths and injuries less tragic. But in the ridiculous hope that it might help prevent some of the Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate and violence that we saw after 9/11.
It was a ridiculous prayer. The murderers had determined themselves to be who they were long before my prayer was sent up. And people are going to hate Muslims unjustly regardless because racism and hate against particular religions is stupid and senseless and not prone to any logic at all.
UCLA Law professor Khaled A Beydoun explains one of his first thoughts upon hearing about the bombing, “Please don’t be Arabs or Muslims” in his article in Al Jazeera:
I instantly thought of my friend who ran the Marathon upon learning of the explosions. However, concern for loved ones was superseded by a distinctly Arab and Muslim-American psychosis: “Please do not let the culprit be Arab or Muslim.”
This fear still grips me while writing the article, and certainly raced through the minds of most Arab and Muslim-Americans. That gut-wrenching anxiety and debilitating concern, borne out of the implicated guilt that follows every modern terrorist attack from World Trade Center I to Sandy Hook, emerged into a collective Arab and Muslim-American psychosis. Indeed, it may typify best what it has come to mean to be Arab or Muslim-American.
We must remind ourselves that many have been murdered in the name of religion, and not just Islam. We must remind ourselves every day that Islam is not a religion of violence, but rather that some violent people who commit crimes are Muslim.
We must remind ourselves—every single one of us—that peace has to start within ourselves, and extend out to the entire world.
In a follow-up tweet, Qasim Rashid writes, “The Quran equals killing one innocent w/killing all humanity 5:33 & only allows fighting in self-defense.”