Users of a mosque and community centre have been left "terrified" after finding a pig's head on the roof of the building in an incident police are reportedly treating as a hate crime.
Worshippers at the Heatons Muslims Community Trust (HMCT) building in Heaton Mersey, Stockport, Greater Manchester, had been leaving a gathering at around 9:15pm on Friday (December 9) when they made the horrifying discovery, Manchester Evening News reports.
The pig's head had been thrown onto a low and flat part of the building, which meant that it was easily visible to those leaving the mosque.
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The HMCT building contains a mosque as well as community facilities and has been serving the Islamic residents in the area for over a decade, with many of its users being children and elderly people.
Police were notified about the incident and are believed to have logged it as a hate crime.
A HMCT trustee says that the animal's head was left on the roof with the intention of scaring people who use the mosque and community centre.
Describing the grim discovery, Muhammad Tayyab Mohiuddin said: "In the evening we have a bit of a gathering at the community centre and some people came out and someone said 'there's a pigs head on the roof.'
"It's a short roof so it was easy to see. I think they have picked that point in order to terrify people. Everyone knows someone has placed it there and what their intentions were."
He said that people who use the mosque are now fearful that someone is targeting them, adding: "In our religion, we are not allowed to eat pig's meat or handle it in any way so someone has done it specifically for that reason.
"We have a lot of elderly people and a lot of children who use the centre and obviously they are a bit terrified that someone is targeting us and fear in the future someone could go further or take a wrong step.
"We have spoken to the police and told them. We've been told it is logged as a hate crime."
According to Mr Mohiuddin, the centre has never had a similar incident to this but it has been subject to two burglaries in the past year which saw a TV and donation box stolen.
He said that CCTV footage showed two people, including one who appeared to be carrying a bin bag, pulling up to the building in a car and getting out.
Another car in the area was able to capture the car's licence plate on its dashcam footage so they were hopeful that police would be able to find the culprits quickly.
While it's the first time that the centre has been targeted in an attack like this, Heatons Muslims Community Trust (HMCT) have said that these incidents are common around the country.
In a statement, they said: "Unfortunately, this behaviour is not a one-off occurrence.
"In survey data released earlier this year, by Muslim Census and MEND (Muslim Engagement and Development), it was reported that almost half (42pc) of Mosques or Islamic institutions surveyed have experienced religiously motivated attacks in the last three years.
"Seventeen percent of mosques from the 42pc reported having faced physical abuse directed at staff or worshippers, including the stabbing of a muezzin (one who gives the call to prayer) in 2020.
"The HMCT asks local residents and worshippers to remain vigilant and report any hate to the police."
Greater Manchester Police have been contacted for comment.
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