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Vandal leaves bacon at PoCo Muslim mosque
Faced with hate, some people respond with anger, even a clenched fist.
Faced with hate — in the form of cured pork — a local Muslim leader is responding with an open door.
Coquitlam RCMP issued a press release Tuesday asking for the public’s help in identifying the person who placed slices of bacon on the exterior walls and around the entrance of the Masjid Al-Hidayah and Islamic Cultural Centre, the Muslim mosque on Kingsway Avenue in Port Coquitlam. The meat was discovered last Wednesday at around 9 p.m. at the conclusion of the mosque’s late evening prayers.
Consumption of pork is forbidden in Islam and police are treating the act of vandalism, the second in the last two years, as a hate crime.
Saad Bahr, the president of the Islamic Society of BC, which operates the mosque, said he believes those responsible for the vandalism do not understand Islam and what the centre does for the community.
“They don’t know us,” he told The Tri-City News yesterday.
His message to the vandal: “We welcome you to come and learn through us by asking questions, instead of having it from a third party where you might be getting distorted information. I hope this message will reach those people.”
It is the second instance of vandalism in the last 18 months at the mosque, which is located across the street from a Christian church. The previous incident occurred in the spring of 2011, when someone spray-painted racist graffiti on the front of the building.
“I hope this will be the last experience we have in this area,” Bahr said. “This is painful and a shame to have in a community like ours.”
“It is disturbing that someone would choose to target Dr. Bahr and his community like this,” said Coquitlam RCMP Supt. Claude Wilcott. “We want to send a clear message that we take this type of activity seriously and it won’t be tolerated in our jurisdiction.”
Coquitlam RCMP is asking for the public’s assistance in the investigation. Police are working with the Integrated Provincial Hate Crimes unit on the investigation and anyone with any information is asked to call 604-945-1550 and quote file number 2012-27061.
Anyone wishing to provide information anonymously can contact Crime Stoppers by phoning 1-800-222-8477 or by visiting www.solvecrime.ca.