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Opinion: After 9/11, reaction to Muslim Americans more nuanced
April 24th, 2013
05:24 PM ET

Opinion: After 9/11, reaction to Muslim Americans more nuanced

Editor's Note: Hussein Rashid is a native New York Muslim. He teaches at Hofstra University in the department of religion. He is an associate editor at Religion Dispatches, a term member on the Council on Foreign Relations, and fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.

(CNN) - After the tragic Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, a dramatic firefight in Watertown and the final capture of one of the two suspects, there are two names tied to this tragedy: Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, two brothers believed to be behind the attack.

We are learning quite a bit about them: where they grew up, what the older brother may have believed and how friends and family remember them.

However, whatever we learn about them does not tell us why they did what they did – only parts of who they are. It is easy, in the initial aftermath of the bombings, to make careless associations between identity and motive, similar to post 9/11 reaction.

But this time, there is a change in rhetoric of how  potential suspects are identified, particularly if they are Muslim. It is because of this change we are learning to move past paralyzing fear and maturing in how we think of what it means to be American. FULL POST