Boston Bombings Produce Conspiracy Theories, Violence
A New Hampshire state legislator who made national headlines when she claimed the federal government was behind the April 15 bombing at the Boston Marathon resigned from office on June 20, claiming she wanted to spend more time with her elderly parents.
On April 30, Rep. Stella Tremblay, a Republican, told ultraconservative radio host Pete Santilli that she became suspicious that the bombing was staged after noticing in video footage that a victim whose legs were blown off was not “screaming in agony.”
“In my heart,” she said, “something told me there’s something wrong here.”
Celebrity conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck, meanwhile, claimed that 12 people, including a Saudi national who was briefly described as a person of interest, were involved “and all of the cops know it.” Erik Rush, a regular contributor to the far-right Internet tabloid WorldNetDaily, told Fox News in the wake of the bombing that “Islam is, by its nature, wholly incompatible with Western society” and compared “liberalism,” which he said was promoting Islamism, to “Stage 3 cancer in America’s body politic.”
“[W]e are at war,” he said. “Just study the history of Islam.”
In Virginia, a Muslim cab driver backed up his assertion that a passenger assaulted him because of his religious affiliation with shocking video evidence. In an 11-minute amateur video shot on his mobile phone on April 26, Mohamed A. Salim, a 39-year-old Iraq war veteran, recorded Ed Dahlberg of Clifton, Va., insisting that all Muslims are terrorists. “Denounce those motherfuckers now!” Dahlberg shouted. “If you’re a fucking Muslim flying jets into the fucking World Trade Center then fuck you. I will slice your fucking throat right now.” Dahlberg allegedly punched Salim, fracturing his jaw. He has been charged with misdemeanor assault and may face hate crime charges.
On April 15, the day of the bombing, a Bangladeshi man was beaten by an angry crowd of men who allegedly attacked him in The Bronx, N.Y., after one of them shouted, “He’s a fucking Arab.” And in Fresno, Calif., on May 4, an 82-year-old Sikh man was hospitalized after being beaten outside of a Sikh temple. Pious Sikh men, who wear turbans, are often mistaken for Muslims and attacked because of it.