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US Muslims wary of possible retaliatory attacks

Leaders with The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemn the killings of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other diplomats. Watch their comments.

Updated at 6:30 p.m ET: U.S. Muslims are seeing a spike in hate calls and are concerned about possible retaliatory attacks on domestic mosques following the fatal attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya and protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

“We’re starting to get hate calls and we’d already seen a wave of anti-Muslim incidents,” Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on Arab-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., told NBC News on Wednesday.

“Our first thought is condemning the attacks. Obviously this is something we’re concerned about,” he said. Muslims are feeling insecure, he added.

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The Muslim civil rights group later Wednesday held a news conference to condemn the attacks in Libya and Egypt.

Libyan Ambassador to the United States Ali Suleiman Aujali holds a news conference along with leading American Muslims and other faith leaders. He is expected to condemn the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens at an American consulate in Libya.

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three embassy staffers were killed in the assault on the Benghazi consulate, which was stormed by Islamist gunmen. Another assault was mounted on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

On Tuesday, CAIR issued a statement urging Muslims to ignore the distribution of what it called the “trashy” anti-Islam film blamed by some for the attacks.

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Nihad Awad, executive director of CAIR, said:

"We urge that this ignorant attempt to provoke the religious feelings of Muslims in the Arabic-speaking world be ignored and that its extremist producers not be given the cheap publicity they so desperately seek. Those who created this trashy film do not represent the people of America or the Christian faith. The only proper response to intentional provocations such as this film is to redouble efforts to promote mutual understanding between faiths and to marginalize extremists of all stripes.”

President Obama, alongside Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, condemns "in the strongest terms" the "outrageous and shocking attack" that claimed the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

On Wednesday, Awad said CAIR condemns the attacks in Libya and Cairo: "The actions of the attackers are totally inexcusable and un-Islamic."

An FBI spokesperson told NBC News on Wednesday that the agency has extensive nationwide community outreach through special agents and field offices to local Muslim communities.

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“We encourage anyone who thinks they are being threatened or intimated to contact us or law enforcement right away,” the FBI said.

In Rutherford County, Tenn., where the Islamic Center for Murfreesboro went through threats, attacks and a court fight to open last month, the sheriff’s office said on Wednesday it was unaware of any threats or protests following the Libya and Egypt attacks.

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“We will respond to protect the Islamic Center,” sheriff’s spokesperson Lisa Marchesoni told NBC News.

Ossama Bahloul, the center's imam, told NBC News, that the center will continue to pay the overwhelming cost of security to protect the center "due to the past history of violence and threats that have been aimed at The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro along with the current concerns."

Bahloul also said the center "condemns in the strongest possible words" the killings in Libya and attack in Cairo.

The New York Police Department told NBC News that there was no new threat, but as a precaution it would ramp up security at numerous religious institutions, including Coptic Christian churches, synagogues and mosques.

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On Aug. 6, a mosque in Joplin, Mo., was burned to the ground. The same mosque was the subject of an attemped arson a month earlier.

In France, vandals smeared human feces on the doors of a mosque in Limoges sometime between Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. There was no immediate indication, however, that the desecration was linked to the unrest over the film. The doors were daubed with neo-Nazi graffiti in July, news agencies said.

Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Florida Council on American Islamic Relations in Tampa, Fla., said if an attack on a mosque occurred it would be hard to know who would be retaliating against what.

“When somebody knocks on my door at CAIR, I just hope I don’t hear a gunshot," Shibly told NBC News. "There are a lot of crazies out there promoting hate.”

NBCNewYork.com's Jonathan Dienst and NBC News' Kari Huus and Jeff Black contributed to this article.

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