Boston Muslim community leaders concerned with safety

By Lindsey Stokes
Staff Writer

Leaders of the Muslim community in Boston say they are concerned about the safety of their families and community members.

“I’m telling my family and community to take their precautions,” said Abdullah Faaruuq, Imam of the Mosque for the Praising of Allah in Roxbury. “I mean to be vigilant because the climate in this country is going more negative on having concern for Muslims.”

City leaders say they are confident that mosques will not be targeted while Police Commissioner Evans says Boston Police will conduct regular patrols around all mosques.

Last month, two men were arrested for vandalizing a mosque in Burlington, Mass. just outside of Boston while patrons prayed inside. An investigation as to whether this act was a hate crime is apparently still ongoing.

John Robbins, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Massachusetts, says he’s been reaching out to local police encouraging them to be vigilant and increase patrols around mosques, especially when services are conducted.

Robbins expressed his concern about retaliation in the wake of last week’s shooting in California that left 14 people dead and 21 others wounded.

“Unfortunately, we are concerned about reprisal,” said Robbins. “We do always see an uptick in anti-Muslim hate crimes in the wake of these kinds of incidents. People make the mistake of conflating the actions of individuals with the larger Muslim community.”

Echoing Robbins, Imam Faaruuq urged the public not to blame the Muslim community for the actions of the California shooters. “These people who say they are following Islam aren’t following any teachings that I’ve read to kill innocent people,” said Faaruuq.