Arson Damages Bellevue Mosque

Firefighters work to control blaze at Islamic Center of Eastside, Jan 14, 2017. (photo: Bellevue Fire Department)

[Editor’s note: Please consider helping our brothers and sisters in their hour of need. You may contribute to the repair and restoration of their mosque HERE.]

37-year-old man arrested; building extensively damaged.

By Isolde Raftery / KUOW
January 14, 2017

“I hope our community comes together to help rebuild — not only the structure, but the idea of safety for all of the Muslims in the area. Particularly with this being the third attack on the two mosques that I have been attending since I was born, I am at a loss for words on the sheer senselessness of some human beings. Now is the time for all of us collectively to come together and denounce hatred once and for all.”
— Osman Salahuddin via Facebook

A fire burned down most of a mosque in Bellevue early on Saturday morning, just one day after a man was charged with a hate crime for threatening members of that mosque in October. There were no injuries.

The first was first reported at 2:49 a.m. at the Islamic Center of Eastside (Bellevue Masjid), according to the Bellevue Fire Department. Firefighters arrived to 40-foot flames engulfing the building.

Authorities found a 37-year-old man behind the mosque and arrested him. They said they believe he is the only suspect.

The fire department said “thorough salvage operations were conducted to preserve holy books and electronic equipment.”

Muhamed Bakr told Q13 Fox: “We just heard from a couple of the parents: ‘What would happen if our children were there and this happened in the morning? Is it safe anymore?’”

Messages of solidarity with the mosque poured in on Saturday morning. On Facebook, Americans for Refugees & Immigrants wrote:

What we are witnessing are not isolated incidents, but rather a broader attack on the civil liberties of the people of this great nation. A fringe but large enough group has decided that all of us must live in the repressive environment of the 1950s.
In Whitefish, Montana, Neo-Nazis are targeting the Jewish community, publishing names, addresses and even photographs of children of the Jewish community.
In Colorado Springs, a gunman shot and killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
Last night, it was arson of the mosque in Bellevue.

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