Details are lacking at this time, but UC Davis has confirmed that sometime over the weekend an unknown individual or individuals left a package of pork tenderloins on the front doorstep of an apartment, whose residents are Muslim. Suspects have not been located. No injuries were reported to UC Davis Police.
This incident is currently unsolved and an investigation is ongoing. The matter is being investigated as a hate incident due to Muslim prohibitions against the consumption of pork.
The incident is similar to the one from two weeks earlier at the Islamic Center, where video captured a female perpetrator methodically breaking windows, slashing bicycle seats and tires, and placing uncooked bacon on an exterior door handle of the Davis Islamic Center.
Based on surveillance video from the scene, it appeared the crime occurred between 3:45 a.m and 4:00 a.m. on the morning of January 22.
As with the current incident, “Muslims are prohibited from consuming pork products and bigots often use pigs or pork to offend Muslim sensibilities.”
“We ask state law enforcement authorities and the FBI to investigate the apparent bias motive for this vandalism and to bring the perpetrator to justice,” said CAIR-SV (the Sacramento Valley chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations) Executive Director Basim Elkarra. “The swift apprehension and punishment of those responsible for this act of religious intimidation will send the message that the growing Islamophobia we are witnessing in our nation will not be tolerated or ignored.”
The Davis Police Department is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to jointly investigate the vandalism that occurred at the Davis Islamic Center on January 22, 2017.
Both agencies have served a search warrant related to that crime at a location in Davis. Following the search, investigators will analyze all evidence and work with prosecutors to determine the course of the investigation.
At the time it appeared that a suspect may have been located, however, there has been no update since last Wednesday.
Davis Police will only say, “This is an active and on-going investigation. Further details will not be released at this time.”
Reaction to recent incidents has been strong.
On January 27, hundreds showed up at Central Park to protest the hate crime and support the Davis Islamic Center.
Kate Mellon-Anibaba organized the event and told the crowd, “I wanted to show marginalized groups that they have strong allies that support them.
“Many have said, this is not our town,” she said. “The reality is this is not the first time that this has happened. And unfortunately it may not be the last.”
Davis Islamic Center’s Imam Ammar Shahin said, “It’s very hard to speak now when you see all of this support from the community.” He said the love and support “was expected from Davis.” He said, “This is a very clear message that we have to feel like we’re always together. If we stand as a group, then most likely all this will stop.”
“Being visibly Muslim for the last year has not been easy,” Internal Vice President of the Muslim Student Association Nida Ahmed explained. “The rhetoric that has been going around in the media about Muslims has been difficult to cope with.” But the response “gives me so much hope.” This will get us through it all, “because together we rise,” she said.
“Davis for me as a Muslim woman has been a safe and accepting place,” a professor from San Francisco State who lived in Davis for years stated. “Sadly even while there is great love here, at the night of one our nation’s largest acts of unity and protest, the Women’s March, someone harmed our community. They committed an act of hate, targeting the Islamic Center, in other words, the Muslim house of worship.
“There are a couple of things that the perpetrator of this act of hatred did not know,” she said. “She did not know that Islam is a religion of peace. Most importantly, they did not know that for Muslims, the entire earth has been made a place for prayer.”
She said, “You can try to destroy our house of worship, but God lives in the hearts of people and no one can tear down our hearts.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting