MAPS in Redmond threatened; mosque and police heighten security

There was increased security at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) mosque in Redmond Sunday evening after police were informed of a possible threat.

There was increased security at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) mosque in Redmond Sunday evening after police were informed of a possible threat.

MAPS president Mahmood Khadeer said he thinks the possible threat may have been related to the terrorist attack in Orlando on Sunday.

“I don’t have specific information about that,” he said. “But I think it is (related), after the Orlando tragedy.”

In addition, on Tuesday, Seattle police and the FBI arrested a man for making online remarks threatening a mosque in north Seattle, and Becky Range, public information officer for the Redmond Police Department (RPD), said they are working with the FBI to determine whether there is any connection to the calls Redmond received on Sunday.

At 6:32 p.m. on Sunday, Redmond police received a call with information regarding a possible threat against MAPS.

Range said the caller was male and refused to identify himself but told police that he had heard and knew about a threat of activities that might happen at the mosque later that evening, giving police the address.

Following the first call, Range said the unidentified male called back about 20 minutes later with more information. She said he gave RPD information about the services at MAPS and the time frame of the events.

Range said police do believe the call was associated with the Orlando attack as the unidentified male referenced the event when he spoke to police.

Khadeer said there were about 350 people — including children — present during that time.

Range said RPD then spoke with their partners and counterparts at other police departments in the area. RPD provided coverage at the mosque until its final service of the night, which ended around 3:20 a.m. Monday. In addition, Range said the Redmond Fire Department positioned some of its equipment in the nearby parking lot at Home Depot.

“It was just a precautionary measure,” Range said.

She said police worked with MAPS and they did not find anyone or anything suspicious, but as the Islamic month of Ramadan continues and more events and activities are held, they need to remain vigilant. Ramadan ends July 5 and Range said RPD will increase its police presence around MAPS for the duration.

“We were extremely grateful to the officers of the Redmond Police Department,” said Khadeer at a press conference on Monday at MAPS. “Their dedication and professionalism are truly remarkable and, on behalf of the whole Muslim community here, I would like to express my sincere thanks to (the) Redmond Police chief and her team.”

At the conference, Khadeer said police took all measures to ensure their protection and the protection of their facilities.

In response to the threats, MAPS has also increased its security. According to a letter from Khadeer that was linked to the mosque’s Facebook page, they increased their security Sunday night, both with additional RPD officers as well as private security personnel.

“In addition, we are implementing immediate security measures — only the front door will be opened,” Khadeer wrote in letter. “The leadership is in contact with several law enforcement agencies.”

He ended the letter stating that all of MAPS’ programs would go on as planned.

At Monday’s press conference, Khadeer also condemned the terror attack in Orlando that occurred early Sunday morning.

Redmond Mayor John Marchione stated: “The City of Redmond is responsible for protecting all its residents. We will be vigilant in our police support of the Muslim Association of Puget Sound until we are certain that the threat is no longer valid and our investigation is complete.”