The Council on American Islamic Relations again offered sympathy to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing on Friday, but added a plea for Americans not to generalize and conclude that Muslim teachings influenced the suspect in any way.
"Our focus is primarily on the victims," said Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago chapter at a press conference Friday afternoon. "We don't want to be drawn into defending ourselves."
Citing acts of violence in Boston and New York, Rehab blamed Islamophobic forces for inciting hate crimes. He said that phenomenon poses a bigger threat than "innocently ignorant individuals."