Queensland police have confirmed they are investigating a pig’s head and heart placed at the entry of a mosque. The Chairperson of Gold Coast Mosque, Hussin Goss, said he was “shocked” to find the animal remains before Friday prayer.
Queensland Police arrested a 21-year-old woman over an incident that involved the placing of a pig’s head and heart at the entry of a mosque on the Gold Coast in the early hours of Friday morning. The woman from the suburb of Southport was charged with wilful damage and is due to appear at Southport Magistrates Court on 11 November.
Chairperson of Gold Coast Mosque, Hussin Goss, told SBS News he was “shocked” to find the pig’s head, painted green, in a plastic bag at the second entry of the mosque at around 10.45 am. Muslims believe pigs to be unclean and avoid any handling of the animal, and green is a symbolic colour strongly associated with the faith.
The bag with animal remains was placed on a Friday, the holiest day of the week for Muslims, and just a day before the National Mosque Open Day, which is held annually on 29 October. The day is aimed at inviting non-Muslims to mosques to learn more about Islam.
Queensland Police Service said in a statement to SBS News that local and specialist police officers have been engaged to support the mosque and the wider community. “The Queensland Police Service and Counter Terrorism Investigation Group take all instances of threats against cultural and religious communities with the utmost seriousness,” a spokesperson said. “Gold Coast detectives utilise a vast intelligence network and operational investigative strategies.
On average, 1,200 Muslims attend the Gold Coast Mosque for Friday afternoon prayer. Mr Goss described the incident as a targeted “hate crime” and has implored the authorities to track down who was responsible. “They’re sending a message to us saying, I presume, that, ‘we can do what we want to do and we will bring your religion down’,” Mr Goss said.
“They’ve got the dirtiest animal to do the dirtiest job in a sense, on the most sacred day, a Friday.” Mr Goss shared a video of the pig on social media, sending a message to local mosques across Queensland to beware of suspicious bags placed outside their doorsteps. “We will get to the bottom because this is a hate crime.”
The incident comes just weeks after a man was charged for sending a voicemail to Kuraby Mosque in Brisbane, threatening to kill Muslims.
Ali Kadri, chief executive of the Islamic College of Brisbane, shared the image of the pig’s head and expressed his disappointment with the incident. “Islamophobia is alive and well. It is important we take this seriously,” he wrote on Facebook. In 2017, a pig’s head was left outside the college gate in a bag with a swastika label.
Mr Goss has called on authorities to ensure that perpetrators who commit hate crimes are punished by the justice system in Australia to deter others from following suit. “A spark becomes a fire, and we don’t want to see that happen in Australia.”