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Bacon mischief at mosque sparks police investigation 0

Michael Mui, 24 hours

Masjid Al-Hidayah Islamic Cultural Centre in Port Coquitlam where piles of bacon and ham were thrown at last week. (CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)

Masjid Al-Hidayah Islamic Cultural Centre in Port Coquitlam where piles of bacon and ham were thrown at last week. (CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)

Mounties are investigating as a potential hate crime the source of piles of bacon and ham thrown at and scattered on the doorsteps of a Port Coquitlam mosque last week.

Coquitlam RCMP and B.C.’s hate crime team are on the case, especially since it’s the second time in about 18 months the 2626 Kingsway Ave. property has been targeted.

The first occurred in March 2011, when racial slurs were sprayed on the side of the Islamic Society of B.C. building.

Society president Saad Bahr said the most recent incident came after as many as 50 people, among them families with children, left the building after finishing evening prayers but suddenly returned screaming.

“We went out, everybody, and we noticed there was ham and pig bacon. It was disgusting and sad … scattered around the floor, thrown across the glass,” Bahr told 24 hours Tuesday.

Islamic scriptures forbid followers from consuming pork, as the meat is considered impure.

The mosque, which opened in 1995, was previously vandalized in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. , Bahr said. The latest attack was the result of someone who is ignorant of the Islamic culture and wanted to “cause some pain.”

“We forgive them,” he said. “There’s a lack of knowledge. We want to convince them to come to us and learn more about our religion.”

Police called the attack “disturbing’’ and said “investigators cannot eliminate the possibility that these incidents were motivated by hatred until all investigative steps have been completed.”

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