Caretaker Finds Severed Pig's Head Outside Philly Mosque - NBC New York
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Caretaker Finds Severed Pig's Head Outside Philly Mosque



    Local Muslims Fear Backlash

    Muslims living in the area are concerned about backlash after the recent terror attacks, especially in the aftermath of a pig's head being thrown at a local mosque. NBC10’s Lauren Mayk reports after speaking to those who practice the Muslim religion. (Published Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015)

    A gruesome discovery outside a North Philadelphia mosque has sparked a police and FBI investigation.  Nabil Khalil, the manager of the Al Aqsa Islamic Society told police he found the bloody, severed head of a pig outside the mosque around 6 a.m. Monday when he showed up to set up for morning prayer services.

    "I don't know if they want to treat us like pigs or we look like pigs or act like pigs," he said.

    Surveillance video at the building, which is located on 1501 Germantown Avenue, shows a person inside a red pickup truck driving past the mosque and throwing the pig's head out of the vehicle’s window Sunday night. Police as well as the FBI are investigating the incident and are speaking to witnesses.

    "You're always going to be looking over your shoulder," Khalil said.

    The Quran forbids the consumption of pork and pig products and describes pigs as unclean.

    Khalil told NBC10 Monday's incident wasn't the first time the mosque was targeted. Only a few days after the Paris terror attacks, an unidentified man left a voicemail at the mosque.

    "I hope you people are happy about what you did in Paris," the man said. "I'd just like to state for the record that Allah is a piece of pork s***."

    Khalil told NBC10 they still never determined who left the voicemail.

    "I said a prayer for the guy," Khalil said. "If he was in his right mind he wouldn't be doing this." 

    Philadelphia Mayor-elect Jim Kenney released a statement on the incident early Monday evening.

    "The bigotry that desecrated Al-Aqsa mosque today has no place in Philadelphia," he said. "The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection has a long history of coming together in the face of challenge. We cannot allow hate to divide us now, in the face of unprecedented difficulties. I ask all Philadelphians to join me in rejecting this despicable act and supporting our Muslim neighbors."

    The incident comes less than a week after a shooting in Southern California left 14 people dead and 21 wounded. The FBI said Monday that its investigators believe the attackers, a Muslim husband and wife, were radicalized – confirming earlier reports on the direction of the investigation and a statement from President Barack Obama Sunday night.

    Addressing the nation from the Oval Office Sunday, Obama called for Americans to focus its rancor about the attacks on ISIS, not Islam.

    "We cannot turn against one another," he said.

    But Obama's statement didn't stop Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump from announcing his support for preventing Muslims from entering the country.

    Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter blasted Trump for his comments and also condemned the pig's head incident during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

    “There is no place in our City for this kind of behavior. It is an ignorant act of a person or persons who are acting against all the values that we hold dear as Americans. The Philadelphia Police are actively pursuing this matter and I ask anyone with information to contact the police,” Mayor Nutter said.

    Nutter also announced Philadelphia will offer a $2,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone engaged in a hate crime.

    “There is no place in Philadelphia for hate crime and its perpetrators. We are a city based on a long history of diversity, religious freedom and tolerance,” Mayor Nutter said. “I’m asking Philadelphians to cooperate with our police to provide information that will help bring the disseminators of hate to justice.”