In the wake of last week’s extremist attack in Lower Manhattan, where an Uzbek immigrant suspect senselessly drove down a bike path killing eight people and injuring many more, the New York Times gave a Facebook Live panel where Dalia Mogahed, the research director at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington, and Aber Kawas, a Muslim American community organizer in Brooklyn, spoke about concerns facing Muslim Americans after extremist attacks where the community is often unfairly blamed and even targeted.
In the panel, Ms. Mogahed says that sadly Americans seem to be hearing about these tragedies on a regular basis and that we need to examine the root cause. “We have a crisis of mass violence in our country and when we don’t look at mass violence, holistically. When we don’t look at ideology motivated violence, consistently. We aren’t going to find solutions for it. I am not concerned if this is called a “terrorist attack” — I think it probably was since [the attacker] made claims for ISIS — but it’s the fact that we want to blame the wrong thing rather than look at the underlining issues behind mass violence…. We need to look at factors like alienation, mental illness, and gun control. And when we aren’t looking at these things, but instead scape-goat a community, we aren’t going to solve the problem.”