Ali Sajjad, secretary of the Muslim Students Association at N.C. State University, said he was concerned old attitudes would reemerge.
“We always worry about backlash,” he said.
The attack April 15 killed three people and injured more than 200, according to FBI statistics.
The suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, have links to the predominantly Muslim region of Chechnya, Russia.
“Initially, before the suspects were found, I’m pretty sure more than half of the American citizens thought this was a terrorist act done by some radical Muslim,” Sajjad said.
Aya Zouhri, a member of UNC-CH’s Muslim Students Association, said those who carry out terrorist attacks do not represent the Islamic values of the vast majority of American Muslims.
A 2010 study by the Pew Research Center found that Muslims made up 0.8 percent of the U.S. population.
Cemil Aydin, a history professor at UNC, said American Muslims are often the target of suspicion and discrimination.
“So many people in America have negative opinions of Muslims,” he said.
Sajjad said his club’s recent events were well received by the UNC community, and the group would continue to educate people about Islam.
President Barack Obama said at an interfaith service in Boston last week that Americans stand unified.
“Our faith in each other, our love for each other, our love for country, our common creed that cuts across whatever superficial differences there may be — that is our power,” he said.
Zouhri said she would be praying for the victims of the bombings.
“It is an opportunity to show support and condemn the act of violence — equating Islam with violence is ridiculous,” she said.
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