Religion News Service writers David Gibson and Lauren Markoe report on the  backlash against Muslims following the Boston Marathon bombings:

(RNS) No sooner had the reality of the Boston Marathon bombing sunk in on Monday (April 15) afternoon than Muslim activists in the U.S. began sending out a slew of newsreleases, tweets and Facebook messages urging prayers and aid for the victims – and condemning whoever was behind the horrific attack. 

“American Muslims, like Americans of all backgrounds, condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s cowardly bomb attack on participants and spectators of the Boston Marathon,” Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a statement on Monday. 

It’s a familiar race against time for Muslim groups. Almost as soon as the smoke cleared around Copley Square, they knew from long experience that some would immediately point the finger of blame in their direction. 

Many widely believed Muslims were behind the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, until American militiaman Timothy McVeigh was convicted of the crime. 

“We also call for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators,” Awad added, echoing a statement from the Muslim Public Affairs Council that called on “all of us as Americans to work together to bring those responsible to justice.”

Still, regular Fox News guest commentator Erik Rush quickly sent out tweets blaming Muslims, adding in one, “Let’s kill them,” a post he subsequently deleted. “Jihad in America,” wrote anti-Muslim blogger Pam Geller.

Speaking about the bombings on his ”700 Club” program, Pat Robertson was also furious: “Don’t talk to me about religion of peace” – the way Muslims describe their faith – “No way.”

On his show, conservative host Glenn Beck opined that “no American citizen blows up random people; that’s a Middle Eastern scene, that’s not an American scene. When our crazies go off, they target the government, not streets that are crowded with people.”

Read the rest of the story here: http://www.religionnews.com/2013/04/16/u-s-muslims-mobilize-to-prevent-boston-backlash/