Since the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings have a Muslim religious background, one local police department wanted to make sure there was no retaliation against the local Muslim faith community.
Soon after the Boston Marathon attack this week, the Islamic Center in Overland Park, KS, started getting some threatening calls. As a precaution, some Overland Park police in marked and unmarked vehicles were stationed outside the center throughout the week.
"Different places as you might imagine have received calls associating them with what happened in Boston or making veiled threats, and we have to take all that stuff seriously. You don't get a lot of warning, so anything that comes up we take seriously. We look at, evaluate and trace them back to where they came from," said Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass.
Douglass said his officers are checking into the threats and working to track down the suspect. He said they won't allow any faith to be targeted or harassed.
"Unfortunately too many people try to draw comparisons or stereotypes where it's inappropriate. In this case, they are Chechen. Do we go hold every Chechen responsible that we know? That's ridiculous. They have a Muslim background – it's sad to think every Muslim was involved," Douglass said.
In the meantime, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, was in Kansas City Friday for a planned meeting with local business leaders.
She said law enforcement have had a tremendous challenge and have handled the situation very well. McCaskill also said she can't recall, in her experience, this kind of response that is as massive as it is and talked about the importance of placing Boston on lockdown to prevent further acts of violence.
"I know the decision they made to lock down the greater Boston area was a very difficult one from a law enforcement perspective because you don't ever want people who have this kind of cruelty in their heart to have a bigger impact than necessary, but I believe that they are working on information that is not widely available to the public right now as to the potential for other incidents that could be occurring in public spaces," she said.
When asked about what more the government can do to prevent terrorist acts like Monday's, she said there will be analysis of the Boston Marathon attack and, from that, changes will likely be made to help other sinister plots.
McCaskill also warned that the United States has to be careful not to change the American way of life.
"I don't think we are going to let terrorists or people with violence in their hearts change America. That's not who we are as a country, so we will have to continue to be smart and strong about how we try to prevent this type of violence, but we can't curtail the freedoms that make us who we are," she said. "I think going forward we are going to have to be smart and strategic, but I'm not going to be part of an effort to have everyone go through metal detector when they leave their home."
Those at the Islamic Center said they condemn the attack in Boston and reject any connection to those accused.
"Our first response is, 'God, we hope he's not a Muslim' because those guys that do that actually don't carry a faith, they carry a different attitude toward others and that is an attitude of hatred," said Arif Ahmad, the secretary of the Islamic Center.
The Islamic Society of North America issued a statement Friday saying, "As American Muslims we are saddened by the Boston attacks and any attack on one American, on one human being, is an attack on us all."
Copyright 2013 KCTV (MeredithCorp.) All rights reserved.
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