In an opinion piece for Asharq Alawsat, Yousef Al-Dayni notes with relief and some gratitude that US officials and most media did not leap to conclusions about the identity of the Boston Marathon bomber(s) and instantly blame it on Saudis or other Arabs. He’s right. There is more caution being practiced, even among those authorities who might profit in some manner from leaking unverified information. Officials in particular and most media in general took a ‘wait and see’ or ‘too early to tell’ approach. Sadly, Al-Dayni does a little conclusion-leaping of his own when he states that the attack “was most likely carried out by a right-wing domestic group”. It’s a little too early to reach that conclusion, also.
There is extensive analysis going on right now. Various authorities — as well as non-authorities — are going through the imagery captured on the thousands of cameras that were in use at the time of the explosions. Certain individuals have piqued curiosity and are wanted for at least interviewing purposes.
Opinion: The Boston Bombings and Islamophobia
It is too early to speak about the Boston Marathon bombings, at least from a professional perspective. We must wait until the end of the investigations into this incident despite of all the noise that has been raised following the explosions in terms of the new media rushing, as expected, to begin the battle to settle scores and politicize this event. Some parties are also exploiting this to send political messages as part of a wider phenomenon where any local or international incident is taken as a pretext for political squabbling and attempts to undermine the other side.
More than 10 years have passed since the 9/11 attacks, and it is clear that the Western media, and the US media in particular—if we exclude the combative right-wing media—have learned their lesson. They did not rush to characterize the Boston bombings based only on suspicion; they have been very cautious not to harm the reputation of one of America’s most important social components, their Arab and Muslim citizens—not to mention foreign students from the Gulf, and particularly Saudi Arabia. Indeed, more than 6,000 such students are currently residing in the city of Boston, which is known for its excellent higher education institutes.
President Obama’s discourse following the bombing has been rational, while the statements of police commanders and spokesmen, along with security officials, have also reflected a lot of maturity. They have been very careful not to point fingers at any side when talking about this incident. This maturity deserves praise. As for the Arabs, we continue to suffer from something of a “guilt complex” following the 9/11 attacks. This results in feelings of horror whenever a terrorist incident takes place. The natural reaction to this is feelings of self-suspicion, and then exoneration.