Islamic Center of Bothell targeted with anti-Muslim messages
BOTHELL, Wash. -- Representatives from the Islamic Center of Bothell say the center is under attack.
Someone left hand written offensive messages inside Islamic booklets outside the Center this weekend. Ten booklets laced with what the members call anti-islamic sentiment were found in ten separate parking stalls of the center's parking lot Saturday morning.
Each note, written in pencil, begins the same: "Islam knows no love. Islam is a Satanic pagan religion," the notes read.
"It's very worrisome," said center member Jennifer McDonald. "My husband comes here alone. I'm scared for his safety, my son's safety and the other children's safety."
The messages are all written on the inside cover of the booklets and are laced with sexual overtones accusing Islam of torture, beheading and sexual perversions.
"That is really serious. People in our community are really taken aback by this they are really scared, " said Ayoob Memon, a board member at the center.
The ICOB is not a mosque, but rather a community center. It's a gathering place, that includes an area to educate children and two large rooms to say Friday prayers. Memon says100 family members rely on the center, and they worry about such a brazen crime.
Each booklet was placed in a separate parking space outside the building with a surveillance camera watching.
"I was shocked that someone systematically placed them in the parking spaces. Somebody took a lot of time and must have a lot of hatred to sit and do that and plot out and plan," said Janet Clark, flanked by her son and daughter, 13- and 11-years old.
Janet and her children visited the Center on Monday out of support.
"I kind of feel bad fro the people who do it cause maybe they're not educated," said Laith Darwish, Clark's son.
In November of 2012, center leadership said someone left a bag of books with anti-Islamic messages. The Center ignored it, and nearly a year later the center's sandwich board sign was defaced with black spray paint. On another day the building was spray painted with graffiti, and earlier this month its flag was burned.
"We have potlucks here, we educate our kids here, we have play dates. It's very hurtful and scary," McDonald said as she clutched her young son.
The Center is working with CAIR, the Washington Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to bring attention to the incidents in an effort to stop the targeted attacks.
The Center said its surveillance camera was not rolling at the time of the attack, but it will be from now on. FBI officials say they are working to determine whether this is a "bias-motivated incident" and whether any federal law were broken. Bothell Police say its stepped up police patrols at all faith-based facilities in Bothell.