Australia: Campus Islamophobia – pig’s head in prayer room toilet
A University of Western Australia Muslim Students Association event from the MSA’s Facebook Page.
A severed pig’s head was found in the toilet of a Muslim prayer room at the University of Western Australia, prompting a police investigation. It comes less than two weeks after 14 pigs’ heads were left at a refugee center in the Netherlands.
The pig’s head was found by Majdi Faleh, a PhD student from Tunisia, who was preparing for his regular prayers at the campus mosque.
“The first feeling was the feeling of someone who’s being threatened. I didn’t expect to see that,” Faleh said, as quoted by ABC.
“It’s not because it was a pig’s head – it can be anything, any other animal – it was the message that was clear…there clearly is motivation of these people trying to say you’re not welcome here, or some similar message,” he added.
Faleh posted photos of the incident on his Facebook page, saying the head had been left inside “a traditional Turkish toilet used mostly by Muslims for the ablution before performing their prayers.”
“Needless to say, if this happened at a university, then THINGS ARE ESCALATING,” he wrote. The student said he alerted campus security who then contacted police.
A spokesman for the University of Western Australia (UWA) said the university is “saddened” by the “deplorable act.”
“It is concerning that people using the UWA prayer room have been targeted in this way,” the spokesman said, adding that the university “strives to support a culturally inclusive and tolerant campus.”
The UWA Guild has also condemned the incident, saying it was investigating the “unprecedented display of Islamophobia.”
“Acts like this are designed only to incite religious and racial hatred,” it said in a statement.
Western Australian police are currently investigating the situation, and anyone with information has been encouraged to come forward.
It comes less than two weeks after 14 pigs’ heads were left at a refugee camp in the Dutch town of Eschmarkerveld, near the city of Enschede. Plastic bags full of pig’s blood were also found at the site.
The use of pigs’ heads is believed to be a direct insult to Muslims, who abstain from consuming pork because swine is considered an ‘impure’ animal in Islam.
MV Editor’s note: The Vice-Chancellor of the university has also released a statement about the incident.