Falsely Accused Boston Teen: It's 'Scary'

Salah Barhoum says he's a target after photo shows up on New York Post

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 18, 2013 9:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – Take a look at the two suspects sought by the FBI in the Boston bombings, and one person you will not see is 17-year-old Salah Barhoum. Which is notable only because the Boston-area teen woke up today to discover he and a friend were pictured on the front page of the New York Post under the giant headline "Bag Men," with a smaller hed saying feds were looking for them. (BuzzFeed has the cover.) Barhoum and his friend had the misfortune of attending the marathon while not looking American, and amateur sleuths trying to find the bombers put their images in wide circulation.

"It's the worst feeling that I can possibly feel," the native of Morocco tells ABC News. "I'm only 17." And he tells AP that he's been deluged with online messages from people thinking he's a terrorist. He went to the police himself to clear his name. "I'm going to be scared going to school," says Barhoum, who runs track on his high school team. "Workwise, my family, everything is going to be scary." The incident has brought charges of vigilantism not only to the New York tabloid but to sites like Reddit, whose members have been poring over photos and publicizing ones deemed fishy. Not so fast, writes Will Oremus at Slate. Redditors actually make a sincere effort to self-police. And "there’s no denying that a few professional media outlets have demonstrated far less of a conscience than the users and moderators of findbostonbombers." Click for his full post.

Salah Eddin Barhoum sits in his apartment in Revere, Mass., Thursday.   (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi)
Salah Eddin Barhoum stands in his apartment in Revere, Mass., Thursday, with one of the trophies he won in an athletic competition, and the bag he was carrying on Monday near the finish line of the Boston...   (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi)
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