Two ABC News reporters were worried about a potential ‘anti-Islamic backlash' on Tuesday morning, hours after the Manchester terrorist attack.
A suicide bomb attack killed at least 22 people and injured more than 50 others after an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. Several of the victims were children, including eight-year-old Saffie Roussos.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the assault.
ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos told network correspondent Martha Raddatz hours after the attack on "Good Morning America" that it would most likely spark anti-Islamic sentiment across the United Kingdom and Europe.
"This is also likely to inflame anti-Islamic sentiment across Britain, across Europe," Stephanopoulos said.
Raddatz agreed and described how the attack would create a backlash against Muslims.
"It sure could, George. Manchester itself is a very multicultural city. There's a large Muslim population with many there for generations," Raddatz said. "So headscarfs attract little attention there. And notably, Manchester did not vote in favor of Brexit. But an attack like this, as you said, is much bigger than Manchester itself and will likely create backlash, depending on the details of this attack."
ABC was not the only network to express concern about the potential for anti-Muslim backlash. On NBC's "Today" show, counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke alluded to President Trump's rhetoric on terrorism and Islam during the campaign, calling it "counterproductive."
"That's why the talk against Muslims in the last year in the campaign and since has been very counterproductive," Clarke said. "The only way to solve this problem is to have everyone think they're on the same side."
There were others on social media who expressed concern about the possible backlash against Muslims.
As we mourn the #ManchesterBombing we can honor the victims, work to end terrorism, and also not let either of those slip into Islamophobia.
— Dylan Marron (@dylanmarron) May 23, 2017
When we sit silently as Islamophobia fills the day after last nights tragedy in the U.K., we are implicated in its damage.
— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) May 23, 2017
Intense mixture of anger, sadness, despair and helplessness at facing anti-Muslim backlash because of a crazy bastard. #Manchester
— Masarat Daud (@masarat) May 23, 2017
I know I'm shouting into the void here: but responding with Islamophobia or racism is fucking useless nonsense. Direct that energy elsewhere
— Olivia Messer (@OliviaMesser) May 23, 2017
I hate that whenever there's an atrocity like last night in #Manchester it gets turned into a Muslim bashing event. These are extremists.
— OHTIB 📷 (@ohhithereitsben) May 23, 2017