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Bomb case is latest hardship for NJ's large Muslim community
by Deepti Hajela and Rachel Zoll
At the Islamic Center of Passaic County, which draws about 2,000 people each Friday for communal prayers, the talk is about how this year is different.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, people of other faiths in the surrounding community were generally able to see the difference between the radical perpetrators and American Muslims, said Omar Awad, president of the center. But he suggested that distinction seems to be blurring in the public mind amid the anti-Muslim rhetoric of the presidential campaign and growing anger over terrorist strikes in Europe and the United States, the latest allegedly plotted by a New Jersey Muslim.
"They're trying to strike fear between neighbors, between the very fabric of society that we spent so much time trying to make sure that we knitted," said Awad, a New Jersey native, sitting in the offices of the 27-year-old Paterson mosque.
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