MONROE — Members of a Muslim group known for messages of peace and patriotism arrived at their mosque Friday to find it vandalized with offensive graffiti.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office was investigating the damage to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s house of worship on Old Owen Road in Monroe.
“We will not tolerate any crimes motivated by prejudice in Snohomish County,” Sheriff Ty Trenary said in a press release. “We are asking for the public’s help to find who committed this hateful act so we can bring them to justice.”
The vandalism is believed to have occurred sometime last week, before 10 a.m. Friday. Deputies reported finding unintelligible words spray painted on the building in yellow and black paint. The graffiti included a vulgar phrase, according to the sheriff’s office.
The local Ahmadiyya chapter moved to the Monroe mosque in 2015 from a building on Highway 99 in Lynnwood. They hosted a blood drive Sunday as part of a national event, Muslims for Life, to honor victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
For several years, the mosque has marched in the July 4 parade in Edmonds carrying signs reading, “Muslims for Loyalty,” “Muslims for Peace” and “Love of one’s country of residence is part of faith.”
The congregation often participates in interfaith ceremonies with Jewish and Christian groups.
If authorities identify the person who wrote the graffiti, the congregation hopes to talk to them to promote better understanding.
“We’re not looking to prosecute — we’re looking to communicate,” said Alam Ali, the mosque’s director of public affairs.
County Executive Dave Somers said he was “shocked and saddened” about the vandalism.
“Any attack on a religious institution is against everything that makes our country good,” Somers said in a statement. “I will do all I can to support the mosque and our community. We will never allow this kind of behavior to go unchallenged. We stand in solidarity with our Muslim neighbors and friends.”
Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call the sheriff’s office anonymous tipline at 425-388-3845.