Whenever a bomb goes off in America or Britain, some liberals' first reaction is to wonder whether stupid white people will go crazy and attack Muslims. Even while the dust of said bomb is settling, a certain breed of heartless commentator will shift his attention from those who were hurt in the attack to those who might be driven mad with racially tinged fury upon observing the attack: that is, the allegedly Islamophobic mob, the unenlightened public, for whom every Islamo-bombing is apparently a sign that Muslims are evil and must therefore be shouted at, spat on, and possibly punched.
So just hours after the bombing at the Boston Marathon, even before we knew who was responsible, there was media handwringing over the masses' potentially intolerant response. Part of the reason David Sirota of Salon infamously hoped the Boston bomber would turn out be a white American is because he was fearful of the "societal response" if the bomber were a Muslim, concerned there would be "collective slandering" of Muslims by Americans. Likewise, two days after the attack, the Guardian published a piece implying America is already a country where the ill-educated think "all Muslims are terrorists", so things could get really hairy if "the perpetrator of the Boston bombings turns out to be a Muslim". There was a tsunami of post-Boston commentary about "the damage that Islamophobia can cause", about the "ignorance and prejudice [that emerge] in the aftermath of a terrorist attack", about Americans undergoing a "collective freakout steeped in Islamophobia".