A severed pig’s head was found on the sidewalk near a Philadelphia mosque, the latest in a series of mosque desecrations and other anti-Islam hate crimes to have taken place in the U.S. since the November 13 Paris attacks, MSN is reporting.
Police Investigate Report of Severed Pig’s Head Found Outside Philadelphia Mosque https://t.co/1HvFZpHj7X pic.twitter.com/CBQ1rqmmdG
— BCNN1 (@bcnn1) December 8, 2015
A mosque caretaker found the pig’s head Monday morning when he went to open the building for early morning prayers on Monday. The building that houses the mosque — the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society — is also home to a school and a charity, the Arab American Development Corp.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 8, 2015
According to Huffington Post, surveillance video from the mosque’s security cameras shows a red pickup truck driving slowly past the building. It then circles around the block and, when it passes by a second time, an object — the pig’s head — is thrown from a passenger window.
Pigs are considered “unclean” in Islam, and Muslims are forbidden from eating pork or even touching the animals. For this reason, pigs have sometimes been used to deliberately taunt and offend Muslims.
Arab American Development Corp. Director Marwan Kreidie, who maintains an office at the mosque, was glad that the object thrown at his place of worship was just a pig’s head and not something worse.
“It’s just a pig’s head — that’s not a big deal; but it does send a message. I think people are worried that if they do a pig’s head, they could do something more violent in the future.”
Since the November 13 ISIS-led terrorist attacks in Paris that claimed the lives of 130 people and injured over 300 more, anti-Islam sentiment in the U.S. has been on the rise, and several anti-Muslim crimes — including the desecration of mosques — have taken place, according to a December 1 Think Progress report. Shots have been fired at mosques; threats to “shoot up” Muslims have been posted on social media and left on answering machines at mosques; and in one particularly disturbing case, a mosque in Pflugerville, Texas, was smeared with feces, and feces-smeared pages ripped from the Koran were scattered around the mosque. (In a heartwarming story of love triumphing over hate, a seven-year-old Pflugerville boy donated the $20 he’d saved in his piggy bank to the mosque.)
Kreidie told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the anti-Islam climate in the U.S. is worse now, since Paris, than it was post-September 11.
“It’s worse now that it was after 9/11,” he said, “which is really frightening. [Sept. 11] was a horrible incident, but we didn’t have this kind of reaction, nobody threw a pig’s head.”
Rue Landau, executive director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, said that Philadelphia is not the type of city that will tolerate hate.
“It is a heinous act that sends a message to Arab American communities that they are not wanted here in Philadelphia, and that could not be further from the truth.”
Similarly, Philadelphia’s Mayor-elect, Jim Kenney, was outraged at the incident.
“The bigotry that desecrated Al Aqsa mosque today has no place in Philadelphia [Philadelphia] has a long history of coming together in the face of challenge. We cannot allow hate to divide us now, in the face of unprecedented difficulties. I ask all Philadelphians to join me in rejecting this despicable act and supporting our Muslim neighbors.”
The incident has been reported to the FBI, and FBI spokesperson Carrie Adamowski confirmed that the agency is investigating.
As of this writing, Philadelphia police have made no arrests in connection with the incident.
[Image via Shutterstock/demidoff]