Police are investigating an “appalling hate crime” where a pig’s head was thrown into a Muslim family’s home in Manchester.
Two children were watching television in the lounge when a brick smashed through the window, narrowly missing a boy’s head.
It was followed by the pig’s head, which was wrapped in plastic, before the attackers fled.
Ajaz Mahmood said his wife, Ghazle Kauser and their four children were in the house in Hollinwood, Oldham, at the time.
“I am not sure whether it is racial or Islamaphobic,” he told the Manchester Evening News, wondering if the attack may have been sparked by mistaken identity.
“My family have been living in this area for 29 years and in this house for 11 years.
“We have never experienced anything like this.”
Mr Mahmood said he was at work when he got a call from home, hearing “hysterical screaming” in the background.
“It’s strange and very disturbing. The kids are absolutely petrified,” he added. “I have worked in Newton Heath, Moss Side, and have always got on with people, my mates are white and Asian. It’s baffling.”
Parts of pigs, bacon and pork have been used in Islamophobic hate crimes across the UK because the meat is “haram”, meaning forbidden, for Muslims.
Items have previously been thrown at people and left outside schools and mosques in an attempt to offend worshippers.
A spike in hate crime has been recorded across the UK in the wake of last year's EU referendum, with the latest incident coming days after a Muslim surgeon was stabbed in nearby Trafford.
Police are appealing to trace a Vauxhall Corsa that pulled up outside the home in Chapel Road, Oldham, shortly before Saturday night’s attack.
One of the three men inside got out of the back seat “and then threw the brick and the pig’s head at the window”, investigators said. He then ran back to the car and it drove off.
The suspect is believed to be around 18-years-old and was wearing a black hoodie pulled up over his head.
Greater Manchester Police said Mr Mahmood’s son was not injured in the attack but was “understandably frightened”.
Detective Chief Inspector Chris Downey, from Oldham CID, added: “This was a disgusting act against an innocent family who have lived in this community for years and were enjoying being at home together on a quiet Saturday night.
“We are treating this appalling incident as a hate crime and are doing everything we can to find those responsible. No one should be made to feel scared in their own home.
“The family were extremely shook up by this and we have been out to see them to offer assurance that we will do everything in our power to track the offenders down.”
DCI Downey said neighbours and the local community had been supporting the investigation, which includes interviewing potential witnesses, carrying out forensic work, reviewing CCTV and increasing patrols.
He appealed for anyone with information to contact police by calling 0161 856 8972 or phoning the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.