Ramadan incident investigated as hate crime

August 22, 2012 5:05:41 AM PDT
This apparent hateful act is now the focus of an investigation and Muslim leaders are speaking out against it.

Fifteen-hundred Muslims, had gathered for prayers at the end of of the month long fast of Ramadan, filling a city-owned field on Sunday morning. Most all of them were unaware of an ugly discovery made by organizers before the celebration.

"We just know that it was raw parts of pork," Muneer Awad, Council on American-Islamic Relations, said. "It was scattered around the area where they would hold prayers."

Three packages of raw pork, according to police, had been scattered. It was quickly picked up and disposed of before the faithful had come to the park.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is speaking out about it now in hopes of raising awareness.

"While it is not physically threatening it is the symbolism of trying to tell American Muslims that they are unwelcome in the community by trying to intimidate and threaten them," Awad said.

Now investigating the incident as a possible bias crime, the NYPD is interested in derogatory comments made by someone on a website associated with the event.

"We're trying to locate the individual who made the comments. The statement came from somebody who identified himself as 007 midland," Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

Islamic leaders on Staten Island too are calling on elected officials to speak out against Sunday's incident. Area residents visiting the park today were aware of what had happened from news reports. They too were quick to condemn the hateful act.

"Unfortunately, it's a sad situation. I don't agree with it at all. Not all. Let everybody enjoy themselves. It's sad," Venditti said.

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