Severed pig's head thrown into mosque during prayer session

July 4, 2006

LEWISTON, Maine --A group of Muslim men praying at a
Lewiston mosque were thrown for a jolt when somebody
threw a severed pig's head into the mosque. Police
arrested a man on Tuesday who said he thought it was a

A frozen pig's head slightly larger than a basketball
was rolled into the Lewiston Auburn Islamic Center on
Lisbon Street at about 10:15 p.m. Monday, witnesses
told the Sun Journal of Lewiston.

Pigs are considered unclean by Muslims, who are barred
from eating pork, and the act was viewed as a
deliberate insult upon the religion.

"We cannot eat it. We cannot even sit next to someone
who is eating it," said a man who identified himself
as Omar S.

When the incident occurred, about 40 men were bowed
down as part of their prayer ritual. When the pig's
head rolled in, the men got up and ran outside but
were unable to locate anyone. None of the men were hit
by the animal head.

Lewiston police bagged the head as evidence and took
it to the police station, witnesses said. Police Lt.
Mark Watson said the head was then disposed of.

Brent Matthews, 33, of Lewiston, came to the police
department on Tuesday, told a detective he had thrown
the head and was charged with desecration of a church,
a misdemeanor. The charge is considered a hate-bias
crime, so Matthews' case will be referred to the
Attorney General's office for further investigation,
Lt. Don Mailhot said.

Matthews, who was out on bail, "admitted to doing it,"
Mailhot said. "He thought it was funny; it was going
to be a big joke. The police department doesn't
anything like that lightly."


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