It seems especially true these days that one must sift through news reports to get to the facts of the matter. The following story is another example of that.
The headline reads “Protests at Islamic Center lead to alleged assault.” But is that really what makes this newsworthy? Incidental contact between rival protesters was the cause of the “assault.” The police have made no arrests. This certainly sounds like a non-event. It is only the presence of CAIR that makes such a trivial thing a headline. There are no videos, pictures, or independent reports of the protesters threatening people or leaning into cars. We only have CAIR’s word for it that these things are happening. Indeed, we see the police standing nearby, so there are no assaults going on.
It is strange that these supposed, unverified rumors of “assaults” are the focus of the story, instead of who the protesters are, what they are saying, and why they are targeting this obscure Islamic center. Despite being quoted, the center’s board member is never named.
Judging by the omission of the most basic details of any news report in this story, something is going on at the center that certain people do not want getting out. Activities at the Islamic Center of Federal Way are drawing not just the attention of outside protesters, but also local area Muslims, who have started an online petition complaining about the Islamic Center of Federal Way leadership.
That is the real story here.
Protests at Islamic Center lead to alleged assault
The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) has condemned anti-Muslim harassment at the Islamic Center of Federal Way and has partnered with the mosque and Cedar Law to take legal action.
During the past several weeks, the Islamic Center, 3304 S. 272nd St. in Kent, has had protesters causing disputes during their services on Fridays, Kent Police Department spokesman Jarod Kasner said in an email.
Men have repeatedly stood outside the mosque during Friday prayers wearing “Make America Great Again” hats, blocking traffic, coming onto the mosque property, leaning into cars, invading the personal space of worshipers, threatening them with deportation and shouting anti-Muslim slurs at them as they enter the building, according to a media release from CAIR-WA.
“Members feel unsafe and threatened while coming to worship,” one board member said in the release. “The impact has been a genuine sense of fear.”
Last Friday, Kent police responded to a report of an assault at the center, Kasner said. One of the protesters allegedly physically assaulted an interfaith activist who attempted to support those attending prayers, according to CAIR-WA.
“Information suggests that two individuals, one supporting and one not supporting, each wanting their signs to be seen, may have had incidental contact when one of them stepped back as they tried to occupy the same space in front of the center,” Kasner said.
No arrests had been made nor charges filed as of Monday, Kasner said.
“This is a sad situation,” Jasmin Samy, civil rights director at CAIR-WA, said in the release. “We are all invested in taking the necessary legal steps to ensure the safety of our community and end this intimidation and harassment of families seeking to practice their faith.”
The civil rights organization has partnered with Cedar Law to file harassment charges against the men.
“There is a line between lawful protesting and harassment,” Chris Williams of Cedar Law said in the release.
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