A caretaker at a Philadelphia mosque found a severed pig’s head outside the building Monday morning, a disturbing discovery that has sparked a police and FBI investigation.
Nabil Khalil, the manager of the Al Aqsa Islamic Society, told police he found the bloody, found the gruesome object when he showed up for work for morning prayer services.
Pigs are considered unclean according to Islamic teachings and the consumption of pork is forbidden.
"I don't know if they want to treat us like pigs or we look like pigs or act like pigs," he told NBC Philadelphia, adding this wasn’t the first time the center was targeted. Following the terror attacks in France, an anonymous caller left a profanity-laden message against Islam on voicemail.
The law enforcement authorities are currently reviewing surveillance footage of the mosque which shows a red pickup truck driving past the building twice just the previous night.
Also, this isn’t the first time a pig’s head has been used in a possible/suspected hate crime against Muslims over the past month. Just this week, a Ph.D. student at the University of Western Australia discovered a pig’s head in the toilets at the university mosque.
Nearly two weeks ago, unidentified people left 14 severed pig heads at the entrance of a refugee center in the Dutch town of Eschmarkerveld near the city of Enschede.
Anti-Islamic backlash has surged in other parts of the country in the wake of Paris attacks, especially in the U.S. after the San Bernardino shooting by suspected Islamic State supporters who killed 14 people in the rampage.
Muslim leaders have also reported numerous incidents of vandalism, threats and other hate crimes targeting mosques in Nebraska, Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, New York and other states.
“We haven't seen this toxic, anti-Muslim atmosphere since 9/11. And in some ways, it might even even be worse in the terms of the mainstreaming of anti-Muslim hate in our society,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations National Media Director Ibraham Hooper told International Business Times this week.