PORT COQUITLAM — For years, members of the Masjid Al-Hidayah Islamic Centre in Port Coquitlam have welcomed the community and all faiths through the doors of their mosque.
Unfortunately, that feeling hasn’t always been reciprocated.
Coquitlam RCMP are now investigating a possible hate crime after someone left several piles of bacon and meat products on the door step of the mosque last week.
It was just about 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26, when members of the mosque had finished an evening prayer and were heading home.
As they left the centre, they found piles of strips of bacon and meat on the doorstep.
“Everybody was disturbed,” said Saad Bahr, the centre’s president.
“People were disappointed and disgusted to see something like that.”
Roughly five piles of bacon were placed around the mosque’s entrance and along a wall at the side of the building.
The Islamic religion forbids the consumption of pork.
The incident was reported to police right away.
Bahr isn’t ruling out the possibility the recent violence in parts of the Middle East and Africa over an anti-Islamic film may have sparked the incident in Port Coquitlam.
“Once we have something worldwide like that hate event, you’ll see some responses here and there, unfortunately,” he said.
There are currently no suspects and police are asking for the public’s help for any tips that might break the case.
“This is serious because we are not able to eliminate the possibility that this is motivated by hatred,” said RCMP Cpl. Jamie Chung.
However, he said there is no indication the personal safety of any members of the mosque is in jeopardy.
This isn’t the first time the centre has been the target of hate.
About 18 months ago, the mosque was vandalized with graffiti.
The Islamic centre has been located in Port Coquitlam since 1995, but moved to its current location on Kingsway Avenue in 2003.
Just a few weeks ago, the centre held its annual open house to welcome the community, and teach others about the Muslim faith and culture.
Bahr believes whoever is responsible for the act is unfamiliar with the centre and the mosque.
“Whoever did that did not know us,” he said.
Rather than punishment, Bahr said he would like to see the person responsible come to the mosque and get information about the religion and culture.
“We are actually forgiving,” he said.
The RCMP is working with the Islamic Society of BC as well as the Integrated Provincial Hate Crimes Unit on the investigation. Anyone with information related to the incident is asked to contact the local detachment at 604-945-1550 and quote file number 2012-27061.