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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

USC Muslim Students Fear Backlash Following San Bernardino Shooting

Muslim student leaders at USC are asking for respect following Wednesday’s mass shooting at a San Bernardino social services center that left 14 dead and more than 20 injured.

Muslim students across USC asked for mutual respect Thursday and condemned Wednesday’s mass shooting at a San Bernardino social services center that left 14 dead and more than 20 injured.

This, as many Muslims across the Southland are closing their homes and their mosques amidst fears of backlash from the non-Muslim community.

Muhammad Yusuf Tarr, a student leader in the Muslim Student Association at USC, hopes non-Muslim students will be respectful of Muslim students.

“After many events happened where Muslims are the perpetrators, many innocent Muslims end up facing backlash because of that,” Yusuf Tarr said, adding “a lot of women who wear hijab [and others] who are identifiably Muslim are afraid to go out to do common, everyday errands.”

Dr. Mustafa H. Kuko, director of the Islamic Center of Riverside, is defending his religion and condemning the attacks, adding murder is never justified.

“This has nothing to do with Islam, or Muslims,” Kuko said. “[The shooter] is a disturbed person.”

As for students at USC, Yussaf Tarr has one request.

“To the USC Community, if you know a Muslim, I ask you to please be understanding. Try to understand that they are also frustrated with this; that they personally, themselves, could be in danger because of how they look, because of their name, and because of what they wear.”

The office of religious life at USC confirmed it is planning an interfaith vigil set to take place some time in the next few days. The office said it will release more information when the event is finalized. 

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