Officials are looking into a possible hate crime in which a severed pig’s head was thrown in front of a North Philadelphia mosque.
According to Philly, the incident happened around 11 p.m. on Sunday. Surveillance cameras caught a suspicious red van driving near the Al Aqsa Islamic Society. The vehicle drove past the mosque twice; the second time, the pig’s head was tossed out of the car.
Marwan Kreidie, head of the Arab-American Development Corporation, which is also located in the mosque, reported the incident to the FBI after an employee found the head in front of the house of worship on Monday morning. Officials from all over the city condemned the act. Rue Landau, executive director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, told reporters the act could be considered vandalism under the city’s view of ethnic intimidation.
“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,” Landau said.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time the mosque has been the target of a potential hate crime. A day after the Paris attacks, a voicemail calling Allah a “piece of pork sh**” was discovered. The number of the caller was tracked down and sent to the police.
It’s unknown if the incidents are related.
Kreidie says in the 23 years since the mosque’s opening, he has never experienced blatant disrespect on this level.
“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. . . .
A pig’s head doesn’t do much. Could the next thing be a pipe bomb?”
Incoming Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement, urging all residents to stick together.
“The bigotry that desecrated Al Aqsa mosque today has no place in Philadelphia,” he said in a statement. 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.”
Police are currently investigating.
SOURCE: Philly | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform