Three pig heads and bloodied pages of the Koran were scattered across the plot of land allocated to the Association of Muslims in Iceland for the building of a mosque on Wednesday.
Professor at the University of Iceland’s law department Björg Thorarensen says the incident could be classified as a hate crime but Benedikt Lund at Reykjavík Metropolitan Police told visir.is that it is unlikely that the case will be investigated as they don’t have any evidence. The animal parts and pages of the Koran were discarded by City employees tasked with cleaning up the site after the incident.
According to Benedikt, the police officer on the scene said that there was some paper at the site but didn’t know whether it was related to the issue.
Óskar Bjarnason, who lives in Sweden, told visir.is that he was present when the incident took place and that a group of 20 people are behind the act. Óskar claimed that prominent figures in Reykjavík are among its members. He mentioned examples of protests by others in Sweden but said that the action taken in Iceland was less radical.
Reykjavík City Council formally approved the building site for Iceland’s first mosque in September. The Association of Muslims in Iceland was allocated the plot of land in January. The association is currently run from a building in Reykjavík but this will be the first building built specifically as a mosque in Iceland. The City Council’s decision has raised much discussion in Iceland.
Update: Óskar Bjarnason, who admitted that he was part of the group who carried out the desecration, has stated that their purpose was to deter Muslims from building a mosque on the site. He added that, although red paint was used on this occasion, next time they will use real blood. Inciting religious hatred is a criminal offence in Iceland, carrying a prison sentence of up to two years, but the police are still dragging their feet and say they will speak to Bjarnason next week.
Update 2: For a summary of events, see Larissa Kyzer, “Recap: Hate crime at mosque site”, Grapevine, 2 December 2013