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Muslims Worry About Backlash From Post Shooting

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Muslims Worry About Backlash From Post Shooting

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Muslims Worry About Backlash From Post Shooting

Muslims Worry About Backlash From Post Shooting

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Muslims across the country are condemning Thursday's shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, and offering prayers for the victims.

Muslim civil rights groups say what the alleged shooter did was a brutal, personal act and could not have been committed in the name of Islam. "This is a sad day in our nation's history, and we reiterate the American Muslim community's condemnation of this cowardly attack," said Nihad Awad, who heads the Council on American Islamic Relations in Washington.

Awad said while little is known about the suspected shooter's motives, there is no defense for such actions. "No political or religious ideology could ever justify or excuse such wanton and indiscriminate violence," he said.

At the Southern California Islamic Center, a small crowd remained late into the evening. Worshipper Mohammed Shamim Hussein said many stayed to pray for the victims in Texas.

"It's really hard — I can think about their parents, their brothers and sisters. It really is shocking news for everyone," he said.

Shamim said when he found out the shooter was Muslim, he couldn't help but worry about backlash.

Groups from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee to the Muslim Public Affairs Council issued statements urging calm and cautioning members in their communities to take precautions.

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Several organizations said they had already received hate e-mails, and a death threat had been sent to a mosque in Irving, Texas, outside Dallas.

In Los Angeles, law enforcement was sent to area mosques, according to Sheriff Lee Baca.

"The sheriff's department currently is deploying deputies, sheriffs and radio cars to Islamic centers and mosques within our jurisdiction, and that, I think, is just a precautious measure," he said.

Los Angeles' interim police chief said local officers are on the lookout for any attacks against Muslims.

The executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Salam Al-Marayati, said he's thankful for the support but that police alone can't protect Muslims.

"We need to remain vigilant, but at the same time, we don't want people to change their lives completely," he said. "We want them to go on with their regular lives — but at the same time, we live in very extraordinary times."

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