Members of a Bellevue mosque said they felt threatened and terrified when they were allegedly approached by a 36-year-old Auburn man who made comments about assassinating Muslims.
A 36-year-old Auburn man was charged this week with malicious harassment, a hate crime, for allegedly threatening to kill members of a Bellevue mosque and declaring “there is no place in America for Muslims,”according to King County prosecutors.
Kamal Samater — who Bellevue police say self-identifies as Muslim — was arrested Jan. 6 in the parking lot of the Islamic Center of Eastside, also known as Bellevue Masjid, in the 14000 block of Main Street. Members of the mosque were preparing and serving food as part of a service when the incident occurred just after 1:30 p.m.
Jailed in lieu of $250,000 bail, Samater was also charged with felony harassment, accused of threatening to kill the first man he encountered in the mosque’s parking lot, court and jail records show.
Under Washington state law, the malicious harassment — or hate crime — statute provides protections for people attacked over race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or mental, physical or sensory handicap.
Here’s an explanation of what "bias crime" actually means.
According to the charges, the alleged victim recognized Samater, who had previously shown up at the mosque asking for money. Samater aggressively approached the man and told him, “I’m going to take care of you and sweep you,” say the charges.
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The alleged victim says he felt threatened and terrified as Samater closed the distance between them and told him he was “going to assassinate every one of us” and yelled that “there is no place in America for Muslims,” according to charging papers.
The man called 911.
A witness told police he also felt threatened and “feared that Samater would attempt to carry out his threats due to his aggressive demeanor and persistent, directed statements,” say the charges.
After his arrest, police say Samater said he’d asked people for money but they’d said no and he told them only that “the hell gates have opened on you,” according to the charges.