- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Hours before the Islamic State terror group took credit for Tuesday morning’s attacks in Brussels, Twitter users across the world were using the hashtag #StopIslam to blame the second-largest religion on Earth for the explosions that have left at least 34 people dead.

Worldwide, #StopIslam was among the most popular hashtags on Twitter as of Tuesday morning, according to the social network’s own statistics.

Alongside other topics related to the tragedy — such as #PrayforBelgium and #JeSuisBruxelles — #StopIslam became one of top internationally trending hashtags on Twitter hours after individuals detonated bombs at the Brussels airport and a metro station in the capital on Tuesday morning.

Nationwide, #StopIslam was also among the most popular topics among Twitter users located in the U.S., U.K. and Brussels as of Tuesday, per Twitter.

The Search for International Terrorist Entities (SITE) Institute said several hours after the blasts that the Islamic State was responsible for the attacks, citing the terror group-affiliated Amaq News Agency.

“Islamic State fighters opened fire inside Zaventem Airport, before several of them detonated their explosive belts, as a martyrdom bomber detonated his explosive belt in the Maalbeek metro station,” SITE reported.

Rita Katz, the director of SITE, a for-profit group that tracks online jihadis, said that a “claim by Amaq is equally legit as [a] claim by ISIS,” using an alternate name for the terror group also known as ISIL.

President Obama said in a speech last year that “ISIL is not Islamic,” adding: “No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.”

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