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Cops are hunting for someone who left a bloody pig's head outside a mosque in Quebec

Worshippers found the head, wrapped in cellophane with ribbons and a card with "bonne appetit" and a cartoon pig on the front, outside the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec in the early hours of Sunday morning, after prayers.
Photo via Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec Facebook page

Police in Quebec City are on the hunt for whoever left a severed pig's head on the doorstep of a local mosque over the weekend. It's being described as the latest in a spate of Islamophobic incidents across the province.

Worshippers found the bloody head, wrapped in cellophane with ribbons and a card with "bonne appetit" and a cartoon pig on the front, outside the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec in the early hours of Sunday morning, after prayers. Dietary laws in the Qur'an forbid consuming pork, and the incident was all the more offensive as it happened during Ramadan — one of the most important holidays for members of the faith.

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Quebec City police were notified shortly after and say the investigation is ongoing. "It's very important for people to be able to practice their religion freely; that's why this incident is being taken so seriously," the city's police chief told reporters on Monday.

Mohamed Yangui, president of the Islamic center, vowed that the perpetrators would be brought to justice, and that what happened was definitely a hate crime. "It is a waste of time, money and energy," he said, adding that the four mosques in Quebec City get vandalized about once a year. "We have high-definition cameras. We will certainly find the person who did this."

All four representatives from the mosques in Quebec City are expected to meet soon to discuss the incident and next steps.

Quebec City's mayor decried the incident, and said the attack affects the entire population, and not only the Muslim community. "In a society you have cretins, and in this case, there were two or three cretins, or one cretin that decided to do this," he said. "These are citizens of Quebec; they are peaceful and they are part of our community."

In 2014, an unidentified group put posters on the front door of that same mosque that said "Islam [get] out of my country," in English.

Last year, police in Montreal launched an investigation after someone put a pig's head in front of the police headquarters, but it doesn't appear to be related to anti-Muslim sentiment. However, recently there have been a series of anti-Muslim incidents in Quebec, which has a complicated history when it comes to religious tolerance and diversity.

During the federal election in October, members of Quebec's provincial put forward a motion for calm after a group of teens pushed over a pregnant woman wearing a hijab on a Montreal street.

In 2013, the ruling Parti Quebecois tried to put a ban religious garments, including Muslim veils, worn by government officials. That year, a mosque in Montreal was splashed with what is believed to have been pig's blood. In 2014, a halal butcher shop in Sherbrooke was vandalized by people left paper crosses outside and put holes through the store's glass window with notes that said "No to Islam" in French.

A pig's head was found outside a mosque in Philadelphia last December after someone left a voicemail on the mosque's answering machine saying that linking the Muslim community to the November terror attacks in Paris and saying "God is a pig".