Houston woman mails Quran immersed in pork fat to California Muslims

SACRAMENTO, California (KTRK) -- Police are investigating the mailing of a Quran submerged in a tub of what appeared to be pork lard to a Northern California Islamic center.

The Sacramento chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations received the package in June, and it follows two other incidents of defaced Qurans at nearby mosques last month. The Quran prohibits Muslims from eating pork.

The package was sent from a shipping center in Houston by a white woman, but police do not know her name.

Sacramento police are investigating the lard mailing as a "hate activity," but do not expect to file charges because the activity does not rise to a criminal level, Officer Linda Matthew said Friday. An incident rises to the level of a hate crime if it involved some type of illegal action, such as vandalism, Matthew said.

"It's deplorable behavior by someone to do something like this and it's very disrespectful to their religion, but yet there's no specific crime that's attached to it," she said. "We're monitoring these types of instances and taking them very seriously."

Police have notified terrorist threat assessment agencies in Sacramento and the Houston area about the incident, she said.

Ruth Nasrullah with the Houston chapter of CAIR said this is not the first time she has seen pork fat used as an insult.

"There have been an increasing number of pork-related incidents," Nasrullah said. "There was actually a restaurant in Galveston that repeatedly had its front doors smeared with bacon and whatever other kind of pork products there were, so it is something that's been happening."

She said the desecration of the holy book in any way is offensive. The fact that pork fat is involved is less important.

"Over the Fourth of July, we got a few messages that had a photo of spare ribs and said, 'Have some pork on us.' While we don't eat pork, there's this idea that if we somehow see pork that it would be offensive," Nasrullah said. "When you have something like a holy book, no matter what book it is -- whether it's the Quran, the Talmud or the Bible -- when it's treated in that way, it's really disrespectful."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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