ORONO – The tossing of a frozen pig’s head into a Lewiston mosque last week has upset Muslims in northern Maine, the founder of the Islamic Center of Maine reports, even though the modest mosque on Route 2 has never been the target of vandals.

“After the initial shock,” Mahmoud El-Begearmi of Bangor said Saturday, “the discussion centered around how can we help. We seem to be the oldest group in the state, and the other mosques all look up to us for help.”

El-Begearmi, who has lived in Maine for 26 years, advised leaders at the Lewiston-Auburn Islamic Center to make a concerted effort to educate the community about the tenets of their faith and to invite the public to visit the mosque and attend services.

That’s the same advice that was offered last week by a Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Muslims living in the United States.


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