WEST CHESTER, Ohio - An official of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati condemned the bomb attack at the Boston Marathon and asked area residents not to vilify Islam or seek revenge against Muslims.
"It needs to be recognized that a strong belief in religious tenets and observing its rituals, regardless of the religion, does not by any stretch of imagination equate with a tendency towards violent behavior," Dr. Inayat Malik, President of the Islamic Educational Council, said in a statement Monday.
"Let us make sure that a singular religion is not vilified and its adherents targeted for backlash, as a result of the dastardly attack in Boston."
Malik also expressed gratitude to law enforcement in Boston and grief for the loss of life and injuries.
Two Boston-area brothers, ethnic Chechens from Russia, exploded two bombs at the finish line that killed three and injured more than 200, officials said. The brothers, who had been living in the U.S. for about a decade, practiced Islam.
Malik's complete statement reads as follows:
"Now that the law enforcement have in custody one of the alleged perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombings, the important task of uncovering the magnitude of any other planned attacks, who else may have been involved and the motivation behind the heinous attack must be uncovered. We, at Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, are grateful like the rest of Americans, for the dedication and professionalism of the law enforcement authorities. We also share the deep grief for the loss of life and injuries to the victims of the attack and admire the remarkable strength and resilience shown by all Bostonians.
"Since the ethnicity of the Tsarnaev brothers was reported to be from Russian Caucuses, questions have been raised about their involvement with any organized terrorist group. We are certain that this aspect will be thoroughly investigated in the days to come. In some quarters the 'religiosity' of one of the brothers has been highlighted. It needs to be recognized that a strong belief in religious tenets and observing its rituals, regardless of the religion, does not by any stretch of imagination, equate with a tendency towards violent behavior.
"We want to caution against broad generalization about any religious group based on the action of one or more individuals. Criminals and terrorists can't claim to belong to any religion but are instead a part of a pathetic group of individuals like Timothy McVeigh, Adam Lanza, Wade Michael Page and Nidal Hasan, driven by their hatred of others, perceived political grievances or their deranged minds. America derives strength from its diversity and observes strict adherence to the principle of individual accountability regardless of color, creed, culture or ethnicity. Let us make sure that a singular religion is not vilified and its adherents targeted for backlash, as a result of the dastardly attack in Boston.
"Unfortunately, according to media reports, since Monday there have already been two hate crimes reported, one targeting an Arab, female physician in Boston and a second involving a Bangladeshi male in the Bronx. We can not let this happen. America is better than that. No amount of terrorism can make us give up our values of justice and fairness.
"We are grateful for expressions of solidarity from segments of local community and that makes us proud to be Cincinnatians and Americans."
Inayat Malik, MD
President, Islamic Educational Council
Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati