Boston attacks: Islam condemns violence, Muslim leader reiterates

Hussam AyloushBy David Olson, The Press-Enterprise, 4/19/2013

As news emerges that the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings were from the predominantly Muslim Russian republic of Chechnya, an Inland Muslim leader emphasized something he’s had to repeat every time a suspect in a terrorist attack is Muslim: Violence against innocent people is a severe violation of the teachings of Islam.

"A person who claims an Islamic basis for such a heinous crime is no more faithful to the teachings of Islam than a KKK member who claims a biblical basis in committing bigoted crimes," said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Southern California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and a Corona resident.

"Islam’s teachings are very clear in protecting the sanctity of life," he said. "Anyone who claims to be a Muslim cannot act in opposition to those teachings."

One of the suspects, Dzhokhar Tsamaev, posted links to Muslim websites on a Russian-language social media site. He also posted links to websites advocating Chechen independence from Russia. Chechen rebels fought two unsuccessful wars for secession in the 1990s.

But the suspects’ uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, said he believed religion had nothing to do with his nephews’ motivations. ...

Ayloush said he’s not spending time thinking about the possibility of verbal or physical abuse that could be directed at Southern California Muslims as a result of the Boston attacks.

"Our bigger sentiment has been and continues to be with the victims in Boston," he said. "We shouldn’t take away our focus from them." (Full article)