German Mosque Building Site Targeted With Dead Pig in Apparent 'Xenophobic' Act - NBC New York
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German Mosque Building Site Targeted With Dead Pig in Apparent 'Xenophobic' Act

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    PEGIDA activist Tatjana Festerling, center, attends a demonstration of Leipzig's Europeans against the Islamization of the West (LEGIDA), a group linked with the PEGIDA movement, in Leipzig, eastern Germany, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. An empty lot in Leipzig where a local Muslim community plans to build a mosque was the target of an apparent Islamophobic attack on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

    Police say a dead pig with Chancellor Angela Merkel's name daubed on it has been found at a construction site where a mosque is being built in the eastern German city of Leipzig.

    The animal's corpse had the words "Mutti Merkel" written on it in red letters. "Mutti," or "mom," has become a common nickname for the German leader over the years.

    Police spokesman Uwe Voigt said that "in view of the circumstances it appears likely that this is a xenophobic act," news agency dpa reported. Authorities were investigating.

    Leipzig Mayor Burkhard Jung condemned the incident.

    In a 2013 incident after plans for the mosque became known, pigs' heads were found at the same site. Police say no perpetrator has ever been found. 

    In 2015, Germany saw a historic influx of refugees and migrants thanks in part to its open-door policy championed by Chancellor Merkel.

    But a majority of Germans now doubt the country's policy on Europe's refugee crisis and growing disquiet has exposed underlying xenophobia, according to NBC News.

    Authorities have warned of suspicion toward migrants and refugees as they investigate a string of sexual assaults on women celebrating New Year's Eve in Cologne — alleged crimes that police said were committed mostly by men of "North African" background, NBC News reported.

    Last month, right-wing protesters carrying German flags and signs that read "Rapefugees not welcome" marched through the streets of Leipzig.