Boulder Muslim Community Fears Backlash After Alleged Mass Shooter’s Name Released

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Flowers, signs and mementos hang along a fence outside a King Supers grocery store in Boulder on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. At least 10 people, including a Boulder Police officer, were killed there Monday in a shooting.

Fear of religious-based backlash after the mass shooting in Boulder on Monday has forced the city's Muslim community center to take security precautions, including temporarily suspending daily prayer services.

"The person who murdered 10 people at King Soopers in Boulder does not represent the Muslim community," said Tracy Smith with the Islamic Center of Boulder at a city council meeting Wednesday. "He doesn't represent Islam. He just happens to have a Muslim name."

The alleged shooter's name, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, has stirred anti-Muslim sentiments in the community, Smith said. It's unknown whether Alissa practices any religion and no evidence he practices Islam specifically.

"I have spoken to some who are afraid to leave the house," she said. "Others are changing up the paths of their daily walks women who are fearful of wearing their hijabs in public and men with beards who feel they're going to be targeted because of an increased threat of backlash."

Smith said her community wants to keep the focus on remembering those lost, but that the Islamic Center of Boulder has received an outpouring of support over the last week.

It's unclear when services will resume.

Editor’s Note: CPR News includes the name of an alleged shooter only when it is critical to the story.

Hayley Sanchez contributed to this story.