Local Muslims Express Concern Over Bombings
Posted August 20, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — There are thousands of Muslims in North Carolina. They denounce violence, but fear Americans will lump them together with the terrorists.
They want the American people to understand that Islam is about peace.
There was an overflow crowd at one Raleigh mosque on Islam's holy day. But prayer is not the only thing on their minds. They were concerned about violence at the American embassies and in the Muslim world.
"Whatever has been done is not right," Muslim Mohammed Adbul Oadir said. "Nobody has the right to destroy other people or other countries' embassies throughout the world."
Muslims are worried that Americans will connect the terrorists with their religion.
"I think the terrorists have nothing to do with Islam," Muslim Hatem Mohamed said. "Islam is a religion of friendship and good relationships."
"The religion is very much a part of their life," added Dr. Henry Bodman.
Bodman taught Islamic history at the University of North Carolina. He has traveled extensively in the Muslim world. He says it is important that we do not stereotype Muslims as extremists.
"The people you see in the airports are not the terrorists. They are ordinary people in the Muslim world," Bodman said.
"We come to this country because we love it," Muslim Lachen Boutni said, "because we're able to be educated here and we make a very good contribution."
As far as the U.S. military strikes are concerned, local Muslims have mixed reactions. They say they want the terrorists captured, but they do not want innocent lives put at risk.