Pigs’ heads with Islamophobic slurs left outside Belfast church

The incident happened at the Protestant church. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian.

Two pigs’ heads with Islamophobic slogans written on them have been left at a Protestant church in Belfast after rumours spread on social media that it was being transformed into a mosque.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said it was treating it as a “race hate incident”.

St Luke’s Church of Ireland church is not in use and has been the focus of rumours on Facebook and Twitter that it had been bought by members of the Belfast Islamic community for a new mosque.

The church is for sale but local unionist representatives for the loyalist Greater Shankill area have denied that St Luke’s would become a mosque.

St Luke’s lies on the Protestant side of the “peace-line” border between the loyalist Shankill and the republican Falls Road.

The PSNI assistant chief constable, Stephen Martin, tweeted: “This is disgusting and must be condemned in the strongest terms. There is no place for race hate. Info to us on 101.”

Sinn Féin assembly member Fra McCann also condemned the incident.

“This is a building that is used for community events and it would no doubt have been distressing to come across such a gruesome sight,” he said.

“The fact that anti-Islamic slogans were written on the pigs’ heads makes this all the more sinister and disgusting.”

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