Bacon strewn at British Columbia mosque prompts hate crime probe

The RCMP is investigating the possibility of a hate crime after several piles of bacon were found outside a mosque in Port Coquitlam, B.C.

Police say it’s the second such act of vandalism and mischief at the Islamic Society of British Columbia mosque and Islamic Centre in the last 18 months.

Society president Saad Bahr said Tuesday it’s clear the action was intended to offend, but his group would welcome the opportunity to speak to those responsible and have them learn about Muslim beliefs. “We believe that whoever is responsible for this act does not know us and does not understand what we stand for,” Bahr said in a news release.

Coquitlam RCMP Supt. Claude Wilcott said police are disturbed someone would deliberately choose to target the society. Wilcott said investigators haven’t been able to eliminate the possibility that the two incidents were motivated by hatred. “We want to send a clear message that we take this type of activity seriously and it won’t be tolerated in our jurisdiction.”

Police were called to the same mosque in March last year after someone spray painted two racially offensive words on the outside wall of the mosque.

RCMP spokesman Cpl. Jamie Chung said the act could just be a stupid practical joke, but for now police are looking at the possibility it was a crime directed at the Muslim religion. Chung said the bacon was scattered around the property in piles of four or five pieces each. “It is very deliberate if [they] spread them out in several different places. It is not just someone walking by and dropping a package of bacon on the sidewalk.”

The property is equipped with closed circuit cameras and investigators are in the process of reviewing the video.

Police are also seeking the public’s help in trying to find who dumped the bacon, which was discovered last Wednesday, Chung said.

The Coquitlam RCMP has been working with the Islamic Society of B.C. and the Integrated Provincial Hate Crimes Unit on the investigation.

CBC News, 2 October 2012