Local Muslims Concerned About Backlash Connected To Ft. Hood Sho - WNCN: News, Weather

Local Muslims Concerned About Backlash Connected To Ft. Hood Shootings

By Steve Sbraccia

Local Muslims are worried that they will be unfairly blamed for the actions of the accused Ft. Hood shooter because of his Muslim background.

And they aren't the only ones who are concerned -- so are Army officials.

"I do worry slightly about a potential backlash," said General George Casey, the Army chief of staff.

"We don't want people to be afraid of us. We're ordinary people," said Khalilah Sabra of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation of North Carolina.

Many are afraid that the references to Major Nidal Hasan's Muslim background will create problems for all Muslims in this country.

"Even though we're Muslims, we're Americans too, and we would like to be able to detach Islam from this situation because one has nothing to do with the other," explains Sabra.

Fort Bragg has a large Muslim population of soldiers and their families.

"This incident has affected them as it would any other soldier regardless of the religion," said Ft. Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum.

And Ft. Bragg wants its soldiers to realize there was no religious connection to actions attributed to Major Hasan.

"He happened to be Muslim. He could have been Baptist, Jewish or Catholic. His religion is not the issue," said McCollum.

But some Triangle residents believe media reports have implied that his religion was connected to the shootings.

"I guess it would lead people to believe that had something to do with it, and if it's not the case they should not be saying it," said Scott Loyek of Raleigh.

"I think the media looks for anything these days," said Kelly Reid. "I don't know there's a connection between the incident and his name, but the media sees a candied apple and hands it to their audience."

Reid says her brother is in the Army and ironically left Ft. Hood just six hours before the shootings.

And Reid says the stresses on her brother and other soldiers who've seen combat are difficult for most people to imagine because their lifestyles are so different from what most folks are used to.

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