MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Wash. — A 50-year-old man has been arrested and another person is still at large after Mountlake Terrace Police said they made their way into a mosque and threw away religious artifacts.
“It frightens the Muslim community, particularly the kids,” said Umair Ahmad, an imam with the mosque.
Qurans, prayer rugs, clocks, and artwork were among the items police said were bagged up and thrown into the dumpster.
“For those things to be desecrated like that, like I said, it’s heartbreaking for us,” said Ahmad.
The incident happened on Tuesday around 4 p.m. between prayer sessions. As the building was empty then, Ahmad believes this event was targeted and premeditated. Police added that neither person took anything, only throwing the items in the trash. Now they are investigating it as a hate crime.
“It’s something that raises questions in terms of, are our facilities safe,” CAIR Washington Executive Director Imraan Siddiqi said.
Siddiqi said acts of violence like this have increased and worries that trend will continue. “Instances like this also show that there still is a lot of hate out there so I think we do need to be vigilant as a community.”
The mosque prides itself on keeping its doors open at all hours to greet anyone who wants to pray or learn more about Islam.
While they don’t want to lock their doors, they’ll do what they need to in order to keep their members safe.
“It’s like a second home,” said Ahmad. “It’s meant to be a place of safety, comfort, and security; and when that gets shaken, it shakes the entire community.”
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