A man unhappy with an Islamic association's plans to build a mosque next to his property has staged pig races as a protest during afternoon prayers.
Craig Baker, 46, sold merchandise and grilled pork sausages Friday for about 100 people who showed up in heavy rain. He insisted he was not trying to offend anyone with the pigs, which are forbidden from the Muslim diet.
"I am just defending my rights and my property," Baker said. "They totally disrespected me and my family."
Muslims do not hate pigs, they just do not eat them, said engineer Kamel Fotouh, president of the 500-member Katy Islamic Association in this Houston suburb.
"I don't care if he races, roasts or slaughters pigs," said Yousef Allam, a spokesman for the group.
The dispute began when the association asked Baker to remove his cattle from its newly bought land. The association plans to build a mosque, community center, athletic facilities and a school.
Baker agreed to move his cattle but thought the Muslims also wanted him off the land his family has lived on for more than 100 years.
Earlier this month, Baker conceded that the Muslims probably are not after his land, but he said he had to go through with the pig races because "I would be like a total idiot if I didn't. I'd be the laughingstock now because I've gone too far."