American Muslim leaders said they stand against terrorism committed in the name of Islam, trying to distance themselves from the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings who were identified as Muslims with ties to Chechnya.
“We will never allow ourselves to be hijacked by this attempt, and we will not allow the perception to be that there is any religion in the world that condones the taking of innocent life,” said Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
As the manhunt intensified in and around Boston, Muslim leaders convened a press conference Friday (April 19) to denounce the attacks and to urge the media not to link their faith with violent extremism.
Authorities say brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, planted the bombs at the Boston Marathon on Monday before going on a deadly rampage across the city in the early hours of Friday morning. The older Tsarnaev was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police while his younger brother fled.
Officials say the Tsarnaev family is originally from Chechnya, a restive region whose civil war with Russia has spawned waves of extremists. It remains unclear, however, whether the Tsarnaev brothers identified as militants for Islam.