Washington Mosques on High Alert after New Zealand Attacks
After a cowardly attack in two mosques in New Zealand which took more than 50 lives in total, the Washington State is bracing itself for any such incidents. The State chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has urged the local mosques to be on high alert and deploy more security and to contact law enforcement if anything seems suspicious.
“We are asking all community members to remain vigilant at Friday prayers on March 15th,” CAIR-Washington posted on social media. “Mosque board members and religious leaders should request a police presence at their places of worship for prayers.”
According to Sgt. Ryan Abbott, the board and the leaders of the mosques are in contact with the King County Sheriff’s Office, and they have planned for increased patrols in all areas it serves that include cities the Sheriff’s Office contracts with.
On the Eastside, Bellevue’s police department issued a statement on Twitter stating Police chief Steve Mylett, and the entire force stands with the Muslim community, and the department is always ready to protect them as well as all those who have called Bellevue their home.
The Seattle Police department also issued a statement over Twitter stating that it stands with the Muslim community. “We have reached out to local mosques offering any assistance they might need. Although there are no imminent threats to Seattle, we are working closely with federal, state and local partners to monitor the situation,” the department tweeted. “If you see something, say something.”
CAIR-Washington also has put some information over their website to help and support the victims from New Zealand. It’s executive director Masih Fouladi said in a statement, the CAIR grieve with the brothers and sisters of New Zealand tonight and the violent acts like this are unacceptable anywhere and particularly horrifying in place of worship. No one should ever fear for practicing his faith on any land.
The gunman, who had done the violence, an Australian, had posted a manifesto on social media in which he described the United States President Donald Trump “a symbol of renewed white identity.” Trump denounced the attack and refused to accept that the white nationalist movement is on the rise globally.
As per the data from the FBI, of all the religion-based hate crimes in the United States, 18.7 percent were done against Islam in 2017. The Anti-Jewish hate crimes stand at the highest with 58.1 percent. Last year October, a man with a gun killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue which led the Seattle Police department to increase patrols at the house of worship.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle also tweeted against the attacked in New Zealand and said it was “appalled, sickened, and deeply saddened” by the attacks. It also showed solidarity with all minority communities all around the world.
Seattle city has experienced a rise in hate crimes. In 2016 a total of 118 incidents were reported whereas it raised to 234 in 2017. Metropolitan King County Council Chair Rod Dembowski in a press statement said that the whole County extended condolences to the Muslim friends and neighbors. It adds, “We will continue to steadfastly support and foster a community that respects all people of all faiths, and we will fight back against anyone and any group that works to undermine our commitment to a peaceful and loving community that respects, honors, and celebrates the promise of religious and political freedoms on which our country was founded.”