Muslim cemetery vandalized in Snohomish County

WOODINVILLE, Wash. -- A Muslim cemetery in Snohomish County was vandalized and members of the Bosnian community now fear it was all part of a hate crime.

At the Islamic Cemetery of the Bosniaks, nearly a dozen headstones were overturned, broken, and smashed.

"We don't know what was the reason, but it's taking us back 20 years when war started in Bosnia," said Ahmet Aslani.

Many people buried at the cemetery fled persecution in their native country. They came to the US looking for peace.

"One month ago I buried my best friend and he was in (a) concentration camp," Aslani said who knew many of the people buried at the cemetery.

Aslani believes this vandalism was part of a hate crime because only the muslim headstones were damaged. The Christian headstones were untouched.

"We can make the new one but we are more disappointed as humans why it's happened," Aslani said.

A Snohomish County Sheriff's Deputy investigated the crime as malicious mischief. Shari Ireton, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office, said there was no evidence found at the cemetery to suggest the crime was hate-motivated or that the cemetery was targeted because of its religious affiliation.

"I don't know what they have to do in the cemetery not to be (a) hate crime," Aslani said.

Caretakers are now planning to replace the headstones and hope the vandalism will stop. They're also going to put up lights and surveillance cameras.

"I just want everybody to live in peace, especially for the dead people to be in peace because we all live together and in death we're all the same," Aslani said.

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