Inland Empire Muslims want federal authorities to investigate an alleged hate crime at the site of planned mosque near Ontario. Earlier this week, in a gesture Muslims regard as a grave insult, someone dumped dead pig parts on the property.
Witnesses including a security guard spotted a couple of women allegedly dumping pig legs late Tuesday night at the site of the future Al-Nur Islamic Center. The planned 7,500 square-foot center is in a semi-rural, unincorporated section of Chino on the border with Ontario.
The Greater Los Angeles Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations contacted the U.S. Justice Department to request that it investigate the incident as a possible hate crime.
“The reason why it’s so offensive to the Muslim community is that consuming pork is forbidden in our faith and many consider pork products to be unclean and impure,” says CAIR staff attorney Amena Quzi.
CAIR has also called on county authorities to investigate this week’s incident as well as prior cases of alleged intimidation targeting visitors to the Al-Nur property.
“As a community, as a society we need to have zero tolerance for hate crimes because it does more than just affect and impact that victimized community, it impacts out entire community and society when we see groups rendered apart like this,” says Quzi.
San Bernardino County planners approved the Islamic center’s permit last year despite some opposition. County supervisors later upheld that decision in a 4-1 vote.
Earlier this year a group of homeowners sued to block the construction on environmental grounds. They say the center is too large for the 1.5 acre site and would clash with the area’s rural charm. The case is pending. Until the new own mosque is finished, members of the Al-Nur congregation worship at another site in the city of Montclair.