NC mosque defaced with bacon

FLORENCE, SC (NBC) - A national Muslim civil rights and advocacy group is calling on the FBI to investigate a message written in bacon at a South Carolina mosque.

Three chair members of the Islamic Center in Florence discovered the words "pig" and "chump" written in strips of bacon on the walkway along the mosque Sunday afternoon.

Mushtaq Hussain was one of the members who discovered the message after concluding a prayer gathering. He initially thought it was a practical joke.

"Then later on, we thought seriously. And we thought, 'You know, somebody doesn't like us,'" he said.

Florence Police Chief Anson Shells said the incident is currently being investigated as a form of harassment. But because nothing was done to an actual person, no crime has technically been committed.

However, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the Florence mosque was defaced.

"We urge the FBI to add this incident to the growing list of possible bias-motivated attacks on American Muslims and their institutions," said Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR national communications director.

Florence police doesn't currently have any leads on a suspect. In the interim, they will increase the number of patrols near the mosque.

Hussain said this is the second time someone has vandalized the mosque. Earlier this year, vandals broke windows in the facility. Police said they are looking into a possible bias motive for the latest incident.

Apart from these incidents, Hussain said the center has never had problems before.

"People are nice around here," he said. "I don't see anything, you know, serious. But you know, whoever did this, they mean something."

Neighbors agreed, saying the Islamic center has been a positive influence on the community.

"Shame on them," said Darryl Hughee, who lives across the street from the mosque. "Whoever did what they did, it has to be a mental thing."

Hussain is remaining strong and said he is not offended by what was done. He sees this incident as a simple case of ignorance and said that the vandal will have to answer to God.

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