“The problem is the radicalization of the historically moderate American Muslim community, which is particularly aimed at its youth,” Jacobs said. “We don’t hate Muslims. We’re not racist.”
Local Muslim leaders and many of their allies in other faith communities say Jacobs’s statements are false and hurtful to their communities.
“Our [mosque] is completely open to the community, and we want people to come and see the work we are doing,” said Yusufi Vali, executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury. “What they’ll see is we are welcoming to neighbors, we create relationships with our faith partners and with our political leaders.”
In the past, Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Governor Deval Patrick have visited the mosque, he added, “because everyone realizes these allegations are not at all connected to who we are.”
Nichole Mossalam, executive director of the Cambridge mosque, said her office has been deluged since the bombings with calls from the authorities, from the media, from people saying Muslims “should go back where you came from” — and from other people of faith wanting to help.
Rabbi Victor Reinstein of Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue in Jamaica Plain, who attended the service in Cambridge on Friday, said he reached out to his friend Fenni after the bombings.
“It was clear how much the people in the Muslim community were hurting, beyond the hurt we and all of us were feeling over the horror of the tragedy,” he said. “In the midst of their own grief, they were beset upon and pointed at.”
At the Roxbury mosque, Friedman told the congregation: “We stand with you — we are one Boston.”
Passant Ahmed, a dentist and mother of two children from Arlington, said she wept after Webb’s sermon, which she said touched many of the emotions she has felt over the last week — the horror after the attacks, fear about wearing her head scarf in public, and joy in the kind words of her neighbors. “This is the first time I’ve come to the ISBCC,” she said, referring to the Roxbury mosque, “and seen people not having big smiles. I can feel the sorrow. People are grieving.”
Lisa Wangsness can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.