(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/4/06) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called for stepped up outreach efforts by the Muslim community in Maine after a severed pig’s head was thrown into one of that state’s mosques during prayers.
CAIR said the frozen pig’s head was rolled into the Lewiston Auburn Islamic Center late Monday as worshipers bowed in prayer. The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said the use of pigs or pork products is a favorite theme of Islamophobic bigots who wish to attack or insult Muslims. Muslims are prohibited from eating pork.
A 33-year-old Lewiston man told police on Tuesday that he had thrown the head into the mosque. He was charged with desecration of a church, a misdemeanor, and is out on bail.
SEE: Severed Pig’s Head Thrown Into Mosque During Prayer Session
“All Americans should be able to offer prayers in their houses of worship without fear of attack or intimidation,” said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “We urge Muslims in Maine to increase their outreach efforts to educate people of other faiths about Islam.”
He said CAIR’s research shows that anti-Muslim prejudice decreases when people get to know ordinary Muslims and when they have access to accurate information about Islam.
Lewiston is home to some 2,500 Somali Muslim refugees. Somalis began moving to the state in 2001 in search of safer streets and cheaper housing. In 2002, the mayor of Lewiston set off a national controversy by asking Somali community leaders to stop the influx.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 32 offices, chapters and affiliates nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org