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Suspect arrested in connection with fire at Islamic Center of Tacoma

The photo shows the Islamic Center of Tacoma in the background, with a sign on the street that says "Peace Be Upon You."
Mayowa Aina
/
KNKX
The Islamic Center of Tacoma is tucked off Bridgeport Way. A sign on the street welcomes visitors with "Peace be upon you."

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department arrested a 38-year-old man on suspicion of arson Tuesday in relation to a fire set at the Islamic Center of Tacoma earlier this month.

No one was injured in the fire, but smoke, water and fire damage have temporarily closed the building.

Following the fire, the sheriff’s office posted flyers identifying a person of interest. Tips from the community helped lead to the arrest, said Sgt. Darren Moss.

“With their help and with eyewitnesses, we were able to confirm the person in our bulletin was the person that set the fire,” Moss said. “Our detectives, and our arson detective particularly, tracked him down to his home in University Place, and they arrested him.”

Moss said it’s too early to say whether the fire at the Islamic Center is connected to other fires that have recently occurred in the area, including one at an office building at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Tacoma Sunday.

Since the Islamic Center closed, members had been praying in local churches nearby until recently.

Tacoma Community College, just a half-mile down the road from the Islamic Center, announced two of its buildings will be used for services, and TCC will also provide additional security.

Services started the past weekend and will be held there for the next three months while repairs on the center continue.

“This will bring a normalcy for our members, who have been devastated by our loss,” said the Islamic Center’s imam and executive director Abdulhakim Mohamed in the announcement. “But this also brings us fresh hope and faith as hundreds of people have shown their love and support. We feel our future is bright. Meanwhile, we have a new home at TCC.”

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