Manchester’s Muslims fear backlash after concert attack

Photo courtesy of Reuters/Peter Nicholls

Men light candles following a vigil in central Manchester, Britain, on May 23, 2017.

In the wake of the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester this week, Muslims along with the rest of the diverse British city are mourning the dead and tending to the wounded.

But for Muslims in particular, the suicide bombing that left more than 20 dead and dozens wounded on Monday (May 22) has also sown fear. They worry about a backlash from those who would blame all followers of Islam for the carnage, for which the so-called Islamic State takes credit.

Many in Greater Manchester’s sizable Muslim population — about 15 percent of the area’s 2.5 million people, many of whom have lived in the metropolis since the 1960s — now wonder how safe they are on the streets, and in their mosques and schools.

Generally, people have been united in their solidarity, said Zahid Hussain, a local author and poet who is Muslim. “People are coming together — but there have been skirmishes.”

The city feels tense.

Hussain received calls on Tuesday evening about a 14-year-old Muslim girl being mocked at school. And a Jewish friend told him he hadn’t sent his children to school that day. “They thought an attack may be imminent…

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