A bacon incident reported at a Las Vegas mosque is being treated by officials as a hate crime, it has recently been announced.
At around 3:16 a.m. on Sunday, December 27, an unidentified Caucasian man was filmed by surveillance cameras as he was carefully attaching strips of bacon on the door handles pertaining to the Masjid-e-Tawheed mosque, located at 6170 West Viking Road, near the intersection with Jones Boulevard, in the heart of Las Vegas.
The violation was discovered by a member of the congregation at around 5:45 a.m., as he arrived at the mosque wishing to take part in the dawn prayer (Fajr).
The man immediately informed others about this unsettling find, and law enforcement was also called at the scene, reaching the area at around 9:30 a.m.
As recounted by Larry Hadfield, who was one of the first responders, several pieces of pork meat were found on the door handles, and also strewn in the immediate vicinity of the mosque.
Eventually, one of the worshipers used a napkin in order to remove the bacon, promptly discarding it in a garbage bin.
After receiving the shocking news that the Islamic place of worship had been vandalized, Muslim civil rights advocates have deplored this act, calling it a “desecration”.
As explained by representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the sacrilegious gesture is nothing short of a hate crime, since it’s a well-known fact that Muslims aren’t allowed to eat food items containing pork or even touch them, such actions being considered “haram” (forbidden).
In a press release made public on Tuesday, December 29, the advocacy group has also pointed out that similar incidents involving pigs or their meat have occurred in the last few months.
For instance, on December 6 a severed pig’s head was thrown at a North Philadelphia mosque, with the obvious intention of offending the Muslim community.
According to CAIR members, a total of 71 crimes against mosques across the United States have been reported this year, up until December 16, their prevalence having more than tripled in comparison with 2014, when just 20 such hostile gestures were committed.
This may be because some members of the public wrongly believe that all Islam followers should be feared or ostracized, following the Paris terrorist attacks and the San Bernardino mass shooting, which actually involved jihadists supporting ISIS.
Similarly, Masjid-e-Tawheed board members such as Fayyaz Raja and Humeyoon Bhadelia have declared that while the recent bacon event might appear laughable to some, it was actually completely disrespectful, and might be symptomatic of the growing animosity felt against Muslims.
In fact, as mosque representatives fear, this apparently trivial act might later be followed by other more serious crimes against those who are followers of Islam, unless perpetrators are brought to justice, so as to discourage this behavior in the future.
Authorities have responded to these allegations by stating that investigators who have been trying to piece together the controversial gesture are indeed considering the possibility that it was motivated by Islamophobia.
Federal and state officials haven’t been included in the inquest so far, given the fact that local law enforcement is confident that the culprit will be apprehended, especially since extensive footage showing him while defacing the mosque has been captured and might yield important clues.
Image Source: Fusion.net