Lawton Islamic Center falls victim to potential hate crime
LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Lawton Police are investigating a possible hate crime after they say a dead pig was dumped off at the Islamic Center on Southwest "F" Avenue.
The incident happened sometime Tuesday night. Surveillance video from The Islamic Center shows a pick-up truck pulling into the parking lot and turning around. Moments later the truck backs up and the carcass falls off the tailgate. The truck then takes off.
A Lawton Police officer who was driving in the area noticed the carcass and called the Islamic Center's Director, Dr. Hassan Ahmed.
Doctor Ahmed told 7News he is not sad or angry but shocked. He says it's highly offensive to Islamic people to drop a pig carcass in from of any Islamic center.
According to the Quran, members of the Islamic faith are forbidden to eat pork and an act such as dumping a dead pig can be considered highly offensive, much like a swastika would be offensive to members of Judaism.
He doesn't know who did it but says he forgives them.
"What shocked me is a person has to take a lot of preparation and time and travel and come there and drop off a wild hog in front of the mosque that is not thinking about good things for the community and for the nation. It just shocked me," said Dr. Hassan Ahmed.
Since the presidential election, some cities have seen an increase in what they believe are hates crimes.
"Well, I don't want to call it a hate crime because I didn't know exactly the intentions of the person, the perpetrator. I don't know their intentions and what they did it is it something that they don't know anything. I don't know but if their intentions was nagging the Islamic center or the prime business of the Muslims here in the US. I would call it hate crime," said Dr. Ahmed.
Dr. Ahmed adds that regardless of what religion or ethnicity you are, dumping a dead animal at a mosque is just wrong. And, according to Lawton Animal Control, it is illegal to dump any carcass in front of a business, home, or street in the city of Lawton.
Dr, Ahmed says education is key, not just regarding Islam but all religions.
"Education is power. No doubt, education is power. If a person is educated, actually in practice of education. The only reason a person does this kind of thing is because of fear of others. Not knowing the others is what makes it a problem," said Dr. Ahmed.
Dr. Ahmed says he is moving forward. He says they will continue to worship in Lawton because they are a part of the community.
While the dumping of a carcass is illegal here in Lawton, Animal Welfare says you can drop off carcasses at the city Landfill on Southwest 11th Street.
The investigation is ongoing; police say they have no suspects.
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