A Southern California Islamic organization has asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate an incident last week in which three pig legs were allegedly thrown onto the site of a proposed mosque near Chino.
The greater Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations asked federal officials to look into the incident as a possible hate crime. The mosque's construction was approved this year by San Bernardino County officials but has been stalled by a lawsuit filed by opponents.
CAIR said the animal parts were thrown on the driveway of the proposed Al-Nur Islamic Center just before 10 p.m. Tuesday. About two dozen people, who had received a special permit, were gathered at the site at the time for prayers for Ramadan, the Muslim holy month now in progress.
A CAIR spokeswoman said the incident was especially troubling because of its timing during Ramadan and because observant Muslims consider pigs unclean.
"This has shaken up the community a bit, but they're trying not to let it deter them," said Munira Sayed, spokeswoman for the group's L.A. chapter.
San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said officers are investigating the incident.
CAIR's national headquarters this week urged U.S. mosques to take precautions following recent incidents against mosques in Missouri and Rhode Island and after last week's deadly attack on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.