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Last Updated: Friday, 29 September 2006, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Pig's head found outside mosque
Jamia mosque
Worshippers have expressed their anger and offence
A pig's head was found dumped outside a mosque in south Wales hours before the holy festival of Ramadan began, police have said.

It was discovered outside the Jamia Mosque in Newport at 2230 BST on Saturday, 23 September.

Gwent Police were called to the scene and have begun a hate crime inquiry to identify the culprit in what is being seen as "premeditated" attack.

In the Islamic faith the pig is considered an unclean animal.

Gwent Police's Divisional Commander for Newport, Kevin Price, said: "We are working with the Muslim community to try and find out who would have been in the street that night when the pig's head was placed at the mosque.

"We are also looking at CCTV.

"I would describe this sort of thing as very irresponsible, there was obviously an element of premeditation about it to get a pig's head and on a night of religious significance.

"It was intended to offend and I believe the person who is responsible probably has no idea just how much offence this has caused," he added.

This is really upsetting business what has happened here, especially in our festival month
Alkas Ali

He said that there had been no other incidents at the mosque before.

An investigation was launched after the pig's head was found outside the Jamia Mosque in Commercial Road.

Superintendent Simon Prince added: "We treat all incidents of hate crime seriously and are pursuing a number of lines of enquiry to identify the offender."

Alkas Ali, who worships at the mosque, said: "This is really upsetting business what has happened here, especially in our festival month.

"All the Muslims here are really upset. The police have been here. This sort of thing seems to be happening everywhere, I think."

He added other things had happened at the mosque over the years, including smashed windows.

Worshipper Dr Ihsan Mahmood said: "I feel offended. Most Muslims do feel offended but we won't gain anything by making a big deal. We won't be any better off."

Mr Modhu Mia added: "This is very bad. We all feel offended by it. But they can't do anything to us. It's just fuelling anger."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Gwent Police on 01633 838111 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

"As they massed for Friday prayers, there was dismay"

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