Philadelphia police and the FBI are investigating the discovery of a desiccated severed pig’s head outside a local mosque, NBC-10, the local affiliate, reported Monday.
The manager of the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society, Nabil Khalil, told police that he found the head on the steps of the mosque when he arrived for Monday morning prayers. According to NBC, surveillance video showed it being thrown at the building from the window of a red pickup truck in the predawn hours.
The Washington Post reported that the incident, which occurred less than a week after a married Muslim couple killed 14 and injured 21 in San Bernardino, California, is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
Islamic law forbids the consumption of pork and pig products.
Khalil told NBC that the mosque, which is in the same complex as an Islamic center and the Arab American Development Corp, has received threats before. Days after Islamic State-affiliated militants killed dozens in the French capital, the mosque received an anonymous voicemail from a man blaming Muslims for the attack.
“I hope you people are happy about what you did in Paris,” the man said. “I’d just like to state for the record that Allah is a piece of pork shit.”
Khalil told NBC that he “said a prayer for the guy” and doesn’t hold the intimidating message against him. “If he was in his right mind he wouldn’t be doing this.”
These chilling incidents of intimidation come amid a moment of heightened anti-Muslim rhetoric among American politicians. Several Republican presidential candidates have said that all Syrian refugees should be barred from entering the U.S. On Monday, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown” of Muslims immigrating to the U.S.
According to a Center for American-Islamic Relations report, there has been an “unprecedented” spike in Islamophobic incidents since the Nov. 13 Paris attacks.