OLYMPIA, Wash. — Someone tossed an explosive device at the Islamic Center of Olympia last week, an apparent act of intimidation and the latest in a string of assaults on houses of worship in the region.
“It seems like it was meant to stoke fear,” said Mustafa Mohamedali, social secretary for the Islamic Center of Olympia.
The Washington chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) shared a security video showing someone driving up in front of the mosque on November 23 and setting off some sort of explosion.
No one was hurt, and there was no damage, but the CAIR said neighbors heard the blast up to two miles away, and it shook many who worship there.
“With these kinds of assaults to our community, it only brings us together and makes us stronger, not just within the Islamic Center of Olympia, but the wider community, with the synagogues, and the churches, and the interfaith group that we have,” said Abdullah Ly, president of the Islamic Center of Olympia.
The explosion is the latest in a series of assaults on houses of worship in the Puget Sound region, including churches, synagogues, and mosques. In October, someone set fire to the Islamic Center of Tacoma.
“There seems to be a pattern here, and that's what I think needs to be investigated holistically, not just one incident,” said Mohamedali.
The Islamic Center of Olympia shared a message for anyone who tries to intimidate them.
“There have been people here with nasty posters and we encouraged them [to] please come in and get to know us, get to know our values, and you'll find that 95% of our values are in common,” said Mohamedali.
Worshipers gathered for their evening prayers Thursday, as they always do, undeterred by what happened last week.
“It's making us more united and stronger as a community,” said Ly.
Mohamedali said the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the explosion. KING 5 reached out to investigators for comment and did not hear back Thursday evening.
People from several faiths will gather at the Islamic Center of Olympia at 11:45 a.m. Friday to show their support for support and pray.