CAIRO - Condemning latest attack targeting the city's Muslim community, Leicester police have warned that they would not tolerate discrimination in Leicester, confirming Muslims' right to practice their faith freely without fear of harassment.
"This was clearly a religiously- motivated offence which was directed at those using the community centre as a Muslim place of worship, who found the incident extremely upsetting and shocking, superintendent Mark Newcombe told This Is Leicestershire newspaper on Saturday, January 26.
"We have no tolerance for discrimination in Leicester, of any kind, and the majority of people in the area were left very upset by the incident."
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Newcombe's comments came after Liam Ferrar (24) admitted religiously-aggravated harassment aimed at the Muslim community at the city's magistrates' court.
Shocking the Muslim minority, the head of the pig was discovered by worshippers from the As Salaam group at the Thurnby Lodge centre at 7.30am last December 25.
Islam considers pigs unclean because they are omnivorous, not discerning between meat or vegetation in their natural dietary habits unlike cows and sheep for instance, which eat only plants.
Muslims do not eat pork and consider pigs and their meat filthy and unhealthy to eat.
Ferrar was arrested on 28 December and charged after admitting to police that he left the animal's head on the step three days after the incident.
Leicester's chief officer said he hoped that Thursday's hearing at Leicester Magistrates' Court would "send a clear message to people like Ferrar, that all those in the criminal justice system will do all they can to bring you to justice".
Ferrar's sentencing is due on 18 February.
The incident came amid tension over As Salaam Trust's plans to open an Islamic centre in a disused Scout hut neighboring the community centre.
The center was planned to provide food-sharing services, and drug and alcohol advice and education.
There have been months of protests, including involvement by the English Defence League and the British National party, whose leader Nick Griffin visited the area in August.
Police have launched an investigation in Leicester that has seen heightened far-right activity in recent months.
The new charges clarified the community's support for freedom to practice religion without fear of harassment.
Everyone has the right to practice their faith without fear of harassment, Judith Walker, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said.
"There is no place in our community for this kind of action that deliberately targets people on the grounds of their religion and the Crown Prosecution Service takes this kind of offending extremely seriously.
"Liam Ferrar admitted that he had left the head at the community centre and, in charging the offence, we were satisfied that his actions were motivated by hostility to cause shock and distress.
"Pigs hold a particular significance in the Muslim faith and this action was highly offensive to his victims."
British Muslims, estimated at nearly 2.5 million, have been in the eye of storm since the 7/7 2005 attacks.
A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.
A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.
The anti-Muslim tide has also been on the rise across Europe, with several countries are restricting the freedom of Muslims to wearing face-veil and building mosques.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net