“We're afraid that although we have condemned those acts over and over again, and our faith doesn't support acts of violence or terrorism, we're afraid people may be using that as an excuse to attack the local Muslim community,” Soltani said.
The two suspects in the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing are Muslim. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is in custody at a federal prison hospital, and his brother Tamerlan, 26, died after a shoot-out with police April 19.
When Ahmed was asked if he thought the vandalism was backlash from the Boston bombing earlier this month, he said, “We really don't know. We cannot actually assume anything and we cannot rule out anything.”
Ahmed said only some members of the mosque were aware of the latest vandalism. Those that were apprised of the incident Saturday afternoon were surprised by the attack, he said.
Ahmed said as far as he knows the congregation is not fearful because of the incident.
“Everybody doesn't know what it means. They are shocked,” he said.
Ahmed described his mosque members as educated people who love Oklahoma. He said he has lived in the state for 18 years, and he feels the same way. He said he thinks Oklahomans are generally peaceful people and that the vandals are the exception to the rule.
“This is what I believe. I don't want to live anywhere else.”