Philly police officers and the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday afternoon were investigating why raw meat wrapped in a Muslim newspaper was left on the porch of a Mt. Airy home, officers said.
The incident comes just a week after a severed pig’s head was thrown at a Kensington mosque in an apparent anti-Muslim attack amid fears of heightening religious tensions.
But police said the latest incident may not be a hate crime.
“It may not be that at all,” said Lt. John Stanford, spokesman for the Philly police department. “This may be a domestic situation.”
The meat was discovered early Tuesday morning at 8:07 a.m. by a 25-year-old Muslim man who lives on Montana Street near Germantown Avenue.
“It seems it was a targeted attack, that didn’t necessarily have anything to do with religion but with a domestic situation,” Stanford said. “That doesn’t excuse it but it definitely changes the dynamic and should calm the rest of our citizens.”
But Lateef Coleman, who said he knows the family, desribed it as a piece of cow’s tongue wrapped in The Final Call newspaper.
“They’re a nice family,” Coleman said. “You don’t expect nothing like that.”
The Final Call is the publication of the Nation of Islam and has offices in Chicago. A woman who picked up the phone at The Final Call’s offices declined to comment on reports that their paper was used in the incident, saying they “would not put energy into that act.”
A mosque is located several blocks down Germantown Avenue from where the incident occured.
Juraij Muhammed, a member of the Germantown Masjid who was working at the mosque’s book and clothing store, was not bothered by the incident and said it sounded like a random act.
“The perpetrators of that maybe were trying to desecrate something Islamic — but the Nation of Islam is in no way, shape or form related to Islam,” he said. “Whoever did that doesn’t know the history.”
Domestic incident or no, the news is disturbing, said Jacob Bender, executive director of the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
“Coming on the heels of the pig head left at Al Aqsa mosque as a desecration, and other incidents around the city, suburbs, and the nation, this is not surprising,” Bender said. “We live in a time of stereotyping and hatred fueled by irresponsible statements by certain politicians, or at least people running for political office.”
At the Al Aqsa Islamic society, where the pig head incident occurred a week ago, a community barbecue of solidarity was held last weekend that attracted more than 500 people, said Marwan Kreidie, head of the Arab American Development Corporation and a spokesman for the mosque.
“What this showed was Philadelphia doesn’t accept racism, doesn’t accept anti-Muslim behavior and Islamophobia — we’re all one community,” Kreidie said.