Lancashire’s Muslim community ‘deeply saddened’ after pig’s head left outside site of proposed mosque in ‘hate crime’
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Officers were called to reports of a racially aggravated public order offence in Mosley Street at around 2.10pm on Sunday (October 8).
It was reported that a pig’s head had been left outside the former Methodist church building.
Police said they were treating the incident as a potential hate crime and an investigation was ongoing to identify the individual responsible.
Nadeem Ashfaq, who co-founded Light Foundation with his colleague Dr Arfan Iqbal, described the incident as “disappointing.”
He said: “It is deeply sad and disappointing that in a multi-cultural and religiously diverse England, where the freedom and speech and peaceful worship is much celebrated, that a pig’s head can be left outside a proposed Mosque, with a clear intent to commit harassment and intimidation.
“The freedom of religion supports the very freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, irrespective of faith, to worship in safety and security, without feeling scared or anxious.”
The Light Foundation is a Preston community group that was founded in the early 2010s.
It aims to build bridges of peace, understanding, and tolerance between communities regardless of faith, ethnicity, or creed.
“I thank Lancashire Police for their prompt investigation into this hate incident and to identify the individual or people responsible,” Nadeem added.
Lancashire Police stepped up reassurance patrols as a precaution following the incident and asked anyone with concerns to stop an officer and speak to them.
The force also said they were in continued dialogue with their partners, local councillors and faith leaders.
Ibrar Ahmed, from the Barnoldswick Islamic Centre, said: “This incident is not aligned with the spirit of Barnoldswick, where Muslims have been an integral part of the community since the 1960s.
“The Barnoldswick Islamic Centre remains committed to fostering peace and harmony, working alongside everyone in our town to promote understanding.
“The Barnoldswick we know and call home is a place of friendship and respect, and together, we’ll ensure it stays that way.”
Insp Claire Pearson, from the Pendle and Ribble Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said the force were taking the incident “extremely seriously.”
“I want to make it clear that we do not tolerate hate of any form and we are taking this incident extremely seriously,” she said.
“We have a dedicated team of officers assigned to this case and they are working around the clock to identify those responsible.
“I am sure the residents of Barnoldswick will be equally as appalled by this behaviour and I want to appeal directly to them to contact the police if they have any information or footage which would assist us in our enquiries.”
The force also stepped up reassurance patrols as a precaution and are asking anyone with information or any concerns to stop an officer and speak to them.
Anyone with information should call 101 or email [email protected], quoting log number 845 of October 8.