PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Police say they are now investigating a report of a pig’s head found outside an Islamic Center in North Philadelphia early this morning.
The Quran, the holy book of Islam, prohibits Muslims from eating pork.
Managers found the pig’s head outside the Al-Alsqa Islamic Center, located on a quiet section of Germantown Avenue.
It’s home to a school, a mosque and an interfaith community center, but last Sunday night in surveillance video taken by the center, two people are seen in a red pickup truck- throwing a roasted pig’s head out the window.
It landed near the entrance of the facility.
“The intent of that person was obviously a hate crime– it was an attempt to deface a religious institution,” Marwan Kreidie, of the Philadelphia Arab American Development Corporation, told Eyewitness News.
Marwan Kreidie says his organization’s office is also housed inside of the center.
He says the first time Al-Asqa received an act of hate was shortly after they Paris attacks when they received a voicemail that stated: “Allah… is a peace of pork [expletive]! Allah Sucks!””
And now with this latest incident, Kreidie said, “a pig’s head doesn’t do much physically, but the next thing could be a pipe bomb.”
Neighbors say they are shocked and saddened by the incident.
“I feel bad that it’s happened. I’m glad it doesn’t happen often,” Aisha Yasin, who lives near Al-Asqa said.
“We live here together. Christians, Muslims, Jewish and this is free country,” said Joe Bouaissa, who works at nearby Germantown Pizza.
Kreidie says managers at Al-Asqa are upping security and have contacted law enforcement as tension continues.
“Attacks on any religious institution is an attack on all of us. We want people to know, we are not scared. We are part of the community,” Kreidie said.
Administrators from the Al-Asqa Islamic Society say they’ve also contacted the FBI, the Department of Justice and the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission, asking for an investigation into this incident as a hate crime.
Philadelphia Mayor-elect Jim Kenney said in a statement, “The bigotry that desecrated Al-Aqsa mosque has no place in Philadelphia… I ask all Philadelphians to join me in rejecting this despicable act and supporting our Muslim neighbors.”
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