Riaz Khan with his wife, Ayesha Khan. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Riaz Khan with his wife, Ayesha Khan. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Groundbreaking for Mukilteo’s first mosque is Saturday

The proposed Islamic Center of Mukilteo was the target of an anti-mosque mailer campaign in 2016.

MUKILTEO — It’s Riaz Khan’s field of dreams.

And finally, after seven years of planning, and a short-lived Islamophobic campaign against it, there will be shovels.

The groundbreaking of the Islamic Center of Mukilteo is 11 a.m. Saturday at 3920 Harbour Pointe Blvd. SW.

“This is close to my heart,” Khan said. “It’s a dream project. It is the first mosque in Mukilteo.”

Khan, a Boeing engineer who was elected to the Mukilteo City Council in 2019, is president of the group spearheading the mosque. It started in 2014 with purchase of land off Mukilteo Speedway, between a Bank of America and Mukilteo City Hall. The project has been approved by the city.

The opening date of the mosque depends on funding.

“The time frame is one to two years,” Khan said. “We are still raising money. We have a contractor.”

Other local mosques are in Everett, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.

“This will help Mukilteo residents,” Khan said.

He aims for a membership of about 100 people.

The proposed 3,796-square-foot building will have an assembly and prayer area, multi-purpose room, offices, a kitchen, restrooms and two classrooms. Plans call for a parking lot with 26 spaces on the 33,000-square-foot lot.

Rendering of the Islamic Center of Mukilteo.

Rendering of the Islamic Center of Mukilteo.

“That’s about 100 people with a family of four,” Khan said. “About 100 people can pray. A lot of people come to the mosque, mostly on Friday for afternoon prayer.”

Conceptual drawings show a minaret, a type of tower that provides a visual focal point. Often the tower is used for the Muslim call to prayer, but this one is simply an architectural feature. Planners do not intend to install loudspeakers or broadcast calls to prayer from the site.

The group has the support of Pointe of Grace Lutheran Church, where it now meets.

But the mosque has faced challenges.

In 2016 Peter Zieve, founder of aerospace firm Electroimpact Inc., was behind anonymous postcards asking residents to oppose the mosque. Zieve first denied knowing about it, then later admitted he was behind the mailing and that he regretted it.

A month later, flyers with the words “Ban Islam from America” were posted at the site of the planned mosque. A U.S. flag was placed nearby. The mosque’s sign was damaged.

Khan said there hasn’t been any blatant opposition since.

Mayor Jennifer Gregerson plans to attend Saturday’s groundbreaking.

“Over the years the proposal raised concerns from some members of the community and an openness and welcoming from many others,” Gregerson said.

“This is a step forward for their project and demonstrates that people of all faiths are welcome in Mukilteo.”

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

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