The FBI should investigate the defacement of a South Carolina mosque as a hate crime, according to the advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
On Sunday afternoon, someone spelled out “PIG CHUMP” using slices of bacon on a brick walkway leading up to the Florence Islamic Center.
Mushtaq Hussain, a member of the mosque, told police the incident may be a hate crime against his religion because Muslims are prohibited from eating pork.
“Muslims don’t eat the pork, so you just think that somebody did this purposefully to make people feel angry,” said Hussain. “Definitely they are trying to offend people.”
This is the second time the mosque has been vandalized this year. According to ABC15, vandals previously broke windows in the mosque.
“We urge the FBI to add this incident to the growing list of possible bias-motivated attacks on American Muslims and their institutions,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
“We believe any time there’s a possibility of a bias motive in a defacement or vandalism of a house of worship, that it’s a hate crime,” explained Hooper. “Of course we still don’t know the motive or who did it, but it’s not hard to put two and two together when you have a mosque and pork products.”
This is not the first time mosques have been targeted with bacon. In September, packages containing harassing letters and bacon were sent to four mosques.
Mosques have increasingly become the target of vandalism since controversy erupted over plans to build an Islamic community center two blocks away from ground zero.
In September, a mosque under construction in Phoenix, Arizona was vandalized with anti-Muslim graffiti and had its windows broken.
In another incident, vandals sprayed “worship satan” on the side of a mosque in Saint Louis, Missouri.
According to the Associated Press, the Department of Justice is investigating at least five other possible hate crimes against Muslims.