US Muslims fear backlash after California Shooting incident

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WASHINGTON: American Muslims say they are living through an intensely painful moment and feel growing anti-Muslim sentiment after the recent Islamic State attacks in Paris and this week’s San Bernardino shootings, carried out by a Muslim husband and wife. The motivations of the California killers are still unclear, although authorities are investigating it as a potential act of terrorism. Muslims said they are bracing for an even more toxic climate in which Americans are increasingly suspicious of Muslims. Muslims say that Americans, like many in Europe, often do not draw a distinction between radical Islamist militants, such as those associated with the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and the religion of Islam and its followers who have no ties to extremism. Arsalan Iftikhar, a human rights lawyer who is working on a book on Islamophobia in the United States, said that headline was evidence of how people jump to conclusions about a suspect in a crime who is Muslim. Research by Pew and CAIR shows that apprehension about Islam has increased sharply with the rise of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, in the past two years, especially since the group’s highly publicized beheadings of foreign journalists and aid workers began in August 2014.(Washington Post)