“We certainly want to make sure that people do understand the difference. There is an ethnic difference between Russians and Chechens,” said Sergey Terebkov, president of the Slavic American Chamber of Commerce.
The two countries have had a love hate relationship over the years, with radical Chechens bombing Russia. One example, a 2010 Moscow subway bombing that killed 40 and injured more than 100.
“I was very concerned also that this conflict between Chechnya separatists and Russian governments somehow spilled over to the United States and to this community,” said Terebkov.
Terebkov says the Russian separatists in many cases are linked and funded by Al-Qaeda, but this is where his concern comes in. There is fear the Slavic-American community could get the same backlash as Arab-Americans did after 9-11.
“I am concerned that people from Chechnya are going to be viewed as potential terrorists that they are going to be stereotypically viewed as negative.”
Terebkov says many Slavic-Americans fled their homeland for America to get away from religious persecution. They are good people who are just as sickened by what happened as natural-born Americans.
He added, “Condolences and our thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims and the police man who got killed.”