Following the early Saturday morning fire at the Islamic Center of the Eastside in Bellevue, local police agencies discussed the initial investigation and suspect information. According to Redmond police, they don’t believe the arson suspect is connected with the two recent vandalizations of the sign at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) in Redmond.
Isaac Wayne Wilson, 37, has been booked into King County Jail under suspicion of arson. He is believed to have acted alone when setting fire to the mosque and causing extensive damage, and his motive is unknown at press time.
Fire crews arriving at 14700 Main St. around 2:45 a.m. Saturday found 40-foot flames coming from the rear of the mosque, which has been a mainstay in Bellevue for decades. Wilson was located by police while laying in the mosque’s parking lot.
“At this point, we haven’t seen any evidence that this is a hate crime,” Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mike Hogan said. “A hate crime is proven by words or actions that the perpetrator was targeting a community because of feelings of animosity towards them.” Nor do investigators believe it was an act of terrorism.
On the MAPS Facebook page, President Mahmood Khadeer said he was working closely with Imam Sheikh Fazal of the Bellevue Islamic center and its board to provide support and assistance.
“For now, I ask everyone to extend their prayers and support and to reach out to our brothers and sisters and children of the Bellevue community. We together as one community will rebuild,” he wrote.
Many community members visited the arson site Saturday, some of them bringing donations. Mosque representatives reported that they received between $8,000 and $10,000 on Saturday.
An online fundraiser has also been started to help offset the cost of the fire damage and rebuild the mosque.
Reporter editor Andy Nystrom contributed to this report.