Islamic Center Strongly Condemns Boston Attacks

By Chris Earl, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - As people watched Friday's police activity in Boston to locate two suspects in the deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon, the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids put out a message late Friday.

"These actions are an affront to Islam and to Muslims in American and abroad," wrote Timothy Hyatt in a release. Hyatt is a board member for the mosque with more than 1,000 members throughout Eastern Iowa.

Numerous Friday reports speculated on the beliefs and faith history of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, the two brothers suspected in the bombings. Investigators say a shootout on Thursday night on the M.I.T. campus in nearby Cambridge, Mass., killed a campus police officer.

In suburban Watertown, police located a stolen Mercedes SUV and, in an exchange of gunfire, a man later identified as Suspect No. 1 - Tamerlan Tsarnaev - was killed and the large-scale manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, identified by the Associated Press as the second suspect, got underway and would remain in force for much of Friday before law enforcement officers found the 19-year-old in a boat.

Boston police reported late Friday the second suspect was in custody after a standoff.

Hyatt urged media to refrain from speculating on the faith of both men as their heritage in Chechnya could point to a nation that has been impacted by Islamic fundamentalism.

Hyatt said Friday the Islamic community at the mosque has been surrounded by support for decades and are fortunate for the neighbors in Cedar Rapids they do have.

"We do have to be known in that we denounced any affiliation with it because it is against our religion and against our morals as Americans, first and foremost," said Hyatt.

In September 2010, the Islamic Center hosted hundreds for an inter-faith service to remember the September 11, 2001 attacks. Months before that, people outside the Muslim faith offered their support amid the reports of thousands of dollars in vandalism at the Islamic Center.
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