Who left a small dead pig in front of a new mosque in Cypress Tuesday afternoon? That's the question the Harris County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, wants answered.
Worshippers discovered the pig's body on a wooden deck in front of the door to the Islamic Outreach Center before Tuesday evening prayers, the Houston Chronicle 's Anita Hassan reported. The pig had been disemboweled and entrails appear to have been draped across the gate to the complex.
"Although Muslims do not abhor any animal, it is not allowed (not Halal or not Kosher) for Muslims to eat the meat of pig," a spokesman for the mosque wrote in an e-mail to John Nova Lomax of the Houston Press .
And this is just the latest unenlightened anti-Islamic display in the Houston area involving pigs in recent years. In 2007, a Katy man upset that a mosque had been built next to his farm began holding pig races on his property on Fridays, the Islamic holy day.
The leadership of the Cypress mosque was aware of that history: "At times pig is used symbolically against Muslims, and similar things have happened in the past across the world, and in the recent past in another part of Houston region, when pig races were held in Katy besides a Muslim place of worship," the spokesman continued.
In response, Lomax declared "Way to keep it classy, Houston exurbs!"
The mosque, which opened in July, currently holds prayer services in a temporary building on a 10-acre plot of land in rural northwest Harris County, according to the Chronicle. Neighbors interviewed by the media seemed to be more upset about the construction of a mosque than they would be by, say, a church. One woman, who spoke to Channel 13 News but did not reveal her name, said the incident didn't surprise her. "This area out here is a big residential area. And there are people out here who don't want them here because they are Muslim," she said.
Another neighbor, 78-year-old Bobbie Schroeder, grumbled to the Chronicle about the increase in traffic the mosque has caused in the area, where she has lived since the early 1980s. "They have no respect for anyone else's feelings," she said. As Hassan reported, Schroeder "said she doesn't have anything against the Islamic faith, but wishes the mosque would have been built somewhere else because it depreciates the value of neighboring homes."