By Sukaina Ladak
West Yorkshire police are appealing for witnesses after four pigs’ heads were placed on the property of a Muslim family in Bradford, West Yorkshire, on the morning of June 14.
One was at the front of the house by the door, one at the rear door, and 2 others were found by the police in the bushes at the back of the family’s garden. The family who are of Pakistani origin disposed of it themselves, using an incinerator.
The family, who have lived in the Bolton area of the city for 60 years, say they have never experienced Islamophobia before in their multicultural area.
A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police confirmed to The Muslim News the incident was being treated as a racially motivated “hate crime”. He said, “There are no similar incidents known to the police.”
Daughter Sophia Ditta said a similar incident had happened to her neighbour. “After 11 days of enduring the stench of burning pig fat, my dad finally saw one of our Asian neighbours and asked if he had heard about our incident from the police. Our neighbour was horrified, he had not heard from the police about our incident, and we were then shocked to hear that he too had received a pig’s head in his garden, two weeks prior to us, and he’d reported the incident to the same police station,” said Sophia.
She added the incident had made her question her family’s place in society. “It’s made us realise that no matter how integrated into society we are, to some small minded minorities, we will never be accepted as British because we are not white.”
She also described the police as being sympathetic but not particularly helpful.
They bagged up the 4 heads and said they would patrol the area for the next few weeks and speak to neighbours.
She quoted the police in her blog; “I don’t know who was watching CSI at the time but there’s nothing we can do about taking them away and this isn’t classed as a crime, it’s a hate incident.”
Her sister Selina told The Muslim News that they were not angry at the police, and believes the officers who came to their house were “very disgusted” with what had happened. They bagged up the pigs’ heads, which she was grateful for, as it means her family did not have to touch them. Sophia understands that the police have things which are higher priority and there is a lack of resources available to provide them with the disposal facilities.
The family say they were left “overwhelmed” by the kind responses they have received from members of the community since the attack who were just as disgusted as they were. “They are simply displeased at the racial hatred coming from the minority of the community. The incident has not scared them, but they feel people should learn from it. They feel they were not prepared for it and they hope that in the future people won’t feel isolated when incidents such as these occur.”
Bradford East MP, David Ward, said:“It is shocking to hear that some families have been targeted in such a disgusting way. No one should have to suffer because of their faith or race.