New York: Shortly after the attacks in Brussels were carried out, a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment began hitting social media, with people using the hashtag #StopIslam. Over 140,621 messages with that hashtag have been posted on Twitter, according to Dataminr, a monitoring service.
Others used the hashtag to argue against condemning an entire religious group for the attacks.
I’m a muslim and i’m not a terrorist. Terrorism has no religion. Stop islamophobia, not islam, this hashtag is stupid #stopislam
— ️ (@frdsysof) March 22, 2016
Similar debates and heightened scrutiny of Islam have occurred in the aftermath of other attacks, including those in Paris and in San Bernardino, Calif.
After the Brussels attacks, Gov. John Kasich objected to Senator Ted Cruz’s call to have American police “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”
Hundreds of Parisians gathered in front of City Hall on Tuesday night to express their solidarity with Belgium.
City Hall flew Belgian flags at half-staff, and Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, asked that Parisians hold a minute of silence for the victims of the attacks.
Some gathered held “Je suis Bruxelles” signs, referring to the “Je suis Charlie” images that spread on social networks after the attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.
“It’s happening again, at home in Brussels,” said Benedicte Henrotin, 23, a Belgian woman studying law in Paris. “One feels really targeted, especially being a Belgian living in Paris. It’s hell.”
She said that she had been trying to reach her father by phone all morning, and that she eventually contacted him.
Moments later, people stood in a circle on the square and clapped for a couple of minutes, saluting Belgian bravery.
A few candles were lit, spelling “I LOVE BXL,” next to a drawing by the French cartoonist Jean Plantureux, known as Plantu, and a picture of a Belgian flag with a heart overlaid.
The New York Times