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Florence Islamic Center Defaced with Bacon

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on October 15, 2010 7:06 AM

It may be a bit better than smashing windows, but it is still vandalism. Police report that the Florence Islamic Center in Florence, South Carolina, was hit by pig parts this past Sunday, October 10. In fact, the perpetrators kindly spelled out the words "PIG CHOPS*" in case anyone arriving at the center would be in doubt about the materials on the ground.

According to an interview with the Associated Press reported in TPMMuckraker, Florence Police Major Carlos Raines said the the bacon bits were placed on the sidewalk between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday. But make no mistake, this was not an attempt to just attract a few pests or animals to the mosque, this was a pointed act. "There's absolutely nothing that identifies it as a mosque," Raines told the AP. "It's an insult, and I'm sure that's what it was intended for."

It was an insult, because Muslims, like Conservative and Orthodox Jews, consider pork a forbidden food. One member of the community center went so far as to characterize the act as a hate crime. Major Raines responded to the complaint made by Mushtaq Hussain by saying the department intended to beef up patrols in the area.

This swinish act is correctly termed vandalism. The word vandalism comes from the name of the invaders who sacked and destroyed Rome in 455 A.D. Therefore, the crime is defined as any act that destroys or defaces someone else's property without permission. In this situation, bacon counts.

In any case, offensive as the act was, cooler heads prevailed in the community. Abdul Ghani, a member of the board of the Florence Islamic Center, said the incident didn't worry him, but felt that many Americans could use a bit more education and understanding about the Muslim religion. "We didn't take it too serious," Ghani said. "We wanted to let everybody know what happened. People don't know about our religion and they are just more influenced by the news."

Police are looking for the vandals. SCNow.com reports that anyone with information can call (843) 665-3191 or the state Crime Stoppers hotline at (888) CRIME SC (274-6372).

* An Associated Press report said the bacon slices were arranged to spell out "PIG CHUMP." Looks like they need a spell-checker.

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