ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, (AP) – U.S. Homeland Security officials are working with groups around United States to head off any possible anti-Muslim backlash following the shootings at Fort Hood in Texas, the agency’s chief said Sunday.
The comments by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano also appeared part of efforts to reassure the Arab world that U.S. authorities were taking measures to quell anti-Islam sentiments after last week’s rampage by an American-born Muslim serving as U.S. Army psychiatrist.
“This was a terrible tragedy for all involved,” Napolitano told reporters in the United Arab Emirates’ capital Abu Dhabi. “Obviously, we object to — and do not believe — that anti-Muslim sentiment should emanate from this.”
Napolitano said her agency is working with state and local groups to try to deflect any anti-Muslim anger after the Thursday attacks by Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a Muslim who reportedly expressed growing dismay over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The shootings left 13 people dead and 29 wounded.
“This was an individual who does not, obviously, represent the Muslim faith,” she said after meeting with a group of women university students.
Napolitano also planned talks with Emirates security officials, but gave no further details. Cooperation on security issues have been stepped up in recent years after airlines began direct flights between the UAE and the United States.
Last week, Napolitano was in Europe for meetings with political leaders and security officials.