Chechens in US Afraid of Boston Blowback

Previously anonymous, now embarrassed and afraid
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2013 5:35 PM CDT
Chechens in US Afraid of Boston Blowback
People react to an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston.   (AP Photo/Ben Thorndike, File)

Chechnya's leader may deny any link between the Boston Marathon bombing suspects' ethnicity and their violent actions, but for Chechens living in the US, the connection is harder to ignore. In the wake of the attack, many are now feeling ashamed and frightened, the New York Times reports. "Most of us would be dead right now if it wasn't for the United States giving us a home and saving us from all the violence," said a Chechen man from a Boston suburb who left Chechnya due to war a decade ago. "It feels embarrassing for us. After all this hospitality we’re getting from Americans."

There are probably fewer than 200 Chechen immigrants living in the US, according to USA Today, and only about five or six families in the Boston area, says the Times. Until now, they had largely gone unnoticed, as many Americans had never even heard of Chechnya. One senator has already used the attack to call for stricter immigration laws. "I've read all kinds of stories with people saying very negative things about the nation," said a Chechen woman living in Portland, Oregon. "I really hope Chechens won’t be profiled here, but I suspect they are going to be following every step we do." (More Chechnya stories.)

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