The suspect in Tuesday’s New York City attack shouted “Allahu akbar,” witnesses said, after killing eight people by driving a truck down a bicycle lane near the World Trade Center. The gunmen who struck at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris in 2015 yelled the Arabic phrase, as did the driver of a van who plowed into crowds in Barcelona in August. The phrase “Allahu akbar” has become almost synonymous with terrorism in American popular culture. But Muslim activists and journalists say the phrase, which translates to “God is great,” should not be associated with terror.
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