In Wake of Orlando Shooting, WA’s Muslim Communities Feel Backlash

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By Eric Tegethoff
Washington News Service

SEATTLE – Muslim communities in the Evergreen State are feeling a backlash in the wake of the shooting in Orlando, Fla.

Arsalan Bukhari, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Seattle, says mosques in Seattle and Redmond have received threats this week, and law enforcement has responded to the threats.

“Locally, one person apparently making threats online and buying weapons in order to attack a mosque, thankfully, was arrested and didn’t go farther,” he relates. “And two mosques that received threatening messages.”

Local law enforcement is investigating whether the man arrested Wednesday on charges of threatening the Idriss Mosque in Seattle is connected to threats received by two mosques in Redmond.

Bukhari says despite the perception of his religion, a Harvard study shows that American Muslims who attend religious services more often are actually more engaged in American society and less alienated.

“The more Mosque-going and the more religious a Muslim person is in America, the more likely they are to believe in basic American ideals of working hard and getting ahead, and the more likely they are to be politically and civically engaged,” he stresses.

Bukhari also notes that many thousands of Muslim Americans serve in the U.S. military, and there are more than 50,000 Muslim doctors in the U.S.

Bukhari says his organization stands with LGBT communities and against intolerance in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando.

“The LGBT community are our neighbors, just like people of all backgrounds and lifestyles are our neighbors, our friends and co-workers often,” he stresses. “American Muslims believe in the right and the freedom of all Americans to live and worship in their own way.”

The Idriss Mosque, above, received a threat this week after the shooting in Orlando, Fla. (Joe Mabel/Wikimedia Commons)

The Kitsap Scene

The Kitsap Scene is an online news magazine covering everything in Kitsap County.

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