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Bacon attack on an American mosque: prank or hate crime?

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To many experts, pork-laden messages, such as the one delivered in the heart of the barbecue belt last weekend, mirror what appears to be an increasingly conflicted view in America about the impact of Muslim culture on US politics and society.

Like protests such as "Everybody Draw Mohammad Day," some Americans are needling what they perceive to be an over-sensitive Muslim population with acts that – to non-Muslims – seem relatively tame. In the process, they are exposing the vast difference between what is considered acceptable by the measures of American free speech and by the believers of Islam.

"These are not hate crimes, but they're expressions of intolerance, really," says David Schanzer, director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. "I think a lot of this is generated by a lack of understanding, anger about 9/11, and a great deal of misinformation about Muslims in America and Islam, all of which is in plentiful abundance on the Internet and on blogs."

Pork as a weapon

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