December 09, 2015

PETA doubles reward for suspect who threw pig's head at Kensington mosque

Animal rights group says crime shows a 'complete lack of empathy'

Investigation Rewards
Kensington Mosque Google Maps/Street View

The Al-aqsa Islamic Society building at 1501 Germantown Ave.

As Philadelphia police continue to investigate a hate crime at the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society building in Kensington last Sunday, PETA announced Wednesday it will double the city's reward of $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect who threw a severed pig's head onto the property of the mosque. 

On Tuesday, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced a new $2,000 reward category specifically for hate crimes. Joined by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, Mayor-elect Jim Kenney, Imam Muhammad Shahada of the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society mosque, and a gathering of religious and community advocates, Nutter condemned the act of vandalism as an unacceptable display of ignorance. 

“There is no place in Philadelphia for hate crime and its perpetrators. We are a city based on a long history of diversity, religious freedom and tolerance,” Mayor Nutter said. “I’m asking Philadelphians to cooperate with our police to provide information that will help bring the disseminators of hate to justice.”

PETA released a statement that it will bring the total reward up to $4,000 for information that brings the perpetrator to justice. 

"This hateful act in which a dead animal was used to denigrate human beings demonstrates a complete lack of empathy, and that spells bad news for the entire community," said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. "PETA is urging anyone with information to come forward immediately."

Video of the incident caught on the mosque's surveillance camera shows that a red pickup truck drove by the property twice, tossing the pig's head onto the lawn the second time around. Since Muslim culture traditionally does not consider pork to be halal, the act suggests a targeted message that investigators are treating as a hate crime. 

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact the Philadelphia Police Department tip line at 215-686-8477.