Unknown suspects burglarize Islamic Center of Federal Way

Two suspects steal cash at the mosque; crime is captured on video.

A break-in and theft didn’t stop members of a local mosque from their festivities.

On July 29, two men broke into the Islamic Center of Federal Way, 3304 S. 272nd St., stealing around $200 to $300, according to the mosque’s treasurer, Atif Nazir.

Nazir said the two suspects came in the middle of the day, breaking a window’s lock and hopping in. The suspects then broke open a door and stole money.

“The whole community was pretty shook because we do have pretty good gatherings on Fridays at the congregate prayer where we have 500-plus people, and on Sundays, we have children’s classes, so there are close to 150-plus kids of all ages,” Nazir said. “So that sense of security definitely got challenged more than money. Money can be replaced. It’s more just that sense of security at a sacred place.”

Nazir said they use the money for many things besides operating the mosque. Nazir said the money is used for people in need, even if they aren’t Muslim. He said if they hear about someone in the community who needs help with a bill, that’s what that money is for.

Although the mosque did lose some money, Nazir said the financial loss does not matter to him. The safety of the attendees is what he really cares about. They pray at the mosque five times a day, so people are always coming in and out of the mosque.

Nazir said after the suspects took the cash, they wandered around the mosque looking for more items to steal, but all they took was the cash. Nazir said the last burglary was three years ago when portable air conditioners were stolen, but since then, there have not been any burglaries.

The security footage provided by the Islamic Center shows two men whom Nazir said no one from the mosque recognized. He said it felt like the suspects had cased the mosque beforehand, but no one knew them. Nazir said his first thought was if this was a hate crime because, over this past year, many Islamic Centers have been vandalized.

Nazir said they’re now checking the cameras frequently, but despite the community feeling less secure from the break-in, Nazir said the mosque still hosts five prayers a day and even had a party the next day.

“As usual, we had our Sunday school’s small graduation gathering. So we had close to 200-plus people there yesterday with cakes and stuff,” Nazir said.