Muslim residents in Kensington were on edge and angry Tuesday after a pig’s head was left at a mosque.
The apparent Anti-muslim attack— which one local termed a “slap in the face” — came on the heels of the San Bernadino mass murder by a radicalized Muslim couple and viuirulent rhetoric from GOP presidential front-runnerDonald Trump, who said that no more Muslims should be allowed into the country.
An increased police presence near the mosque on Germantown Avenue did little to allay the hurt and fear, although locals say the neighborhood is, in general, tolerant of the Muslim faith.
AdeebIbrahim, 44, a manager at nearbyCousin’s supermarket and a member of Al-Aqsa, described the pig’s head as “a slap in the face.”
“It’s to disrespect your religion,”Ibrahim said, who was worried about escalation. “I do see it as a threat, as someone who would do that might do something else.”
But he said that Kensington has a large Muslim population and that there is in general no Islamophobic friction in the neighborhood.
“We’re just regular American families, raising our kids like everybody else,” said Ibrahim, who was born in Philadelphia after hisfather immigrated in the 1950s. “We’re non-violent. We’reAmericans.”
Philadelphia police and the FBI are still investigating the pig head incident.
But police commissioner Charles Ramsey said at a City Hall press conference Tuesday that police are still trying to enhance surveilance video to determinethe license plate number of a red pickup truck seen driving up to Al Aqsa early Monday morning, and they are calling on the public’s assistance in solving the case.
A maintenance man at Al-Aqsa, who declined to give his name, said the society has previously had eggs tossed at it, but nothing like the pig head incident.
Erica Motter, 34, a substance abuse counselor in the Fishtown/Kensington area, said the neighborhood is not Islamophobic — but that she knows people who are increasingly attentive to and supportive of Trump.
”The media feeds into people’s darker and baser impulses,” Motter said. “When they put Donald Trump on repeat, I feel like it’s sort of giving people permission to say these things out loud.”
That sentiment was echoed by Mayor Michael Nutter, who said he’d like to ban Donald Trump from Philadelphia — and later at a press conference said bluntly, “He’s an a—–e.”
“Donald Trump is literally trying to radicalize our fellow Americans against our American Muslim and international Muslim brothers and sisters,” Nutter said. “He is a dangerous person right now.”