London Muslims fear backlash after bombs

Thousands of Muslims crowded London mosques for Friday prayers, condemning the bombings, but also wary they could be made scapegoats and fearful of reprisals against their growing and vibrant community.

At the East London Mosque, near the site of one of Thursday’s attacks, an imam told the 8,000 worshippers to be “confident in our identity” as part of London’s multicultural fabric.

The mosque said it had received hate e-mails and a telephone threat to disrupt Friday prayers. A few police officers stood outside during the prayers, which ended peacefully.

Outside, some Muslims said the attacks had made them more cautious on the streets, but others said they were secure in their identity as Londoners _ confident of the city’s tolerant traditions.

“It will have some impact on people. But this is London, a cosmopolitan city,” said student Ali Ayubi. “Maybe after one or two months it will go back to normal.”

Associated Press report, 9 July 2005