US man desecrates mosque; may see federal charges

A local Muslim leader wants federal charges to be filed against a local man who already faces state and local action for rolling a pig's head into a mosque during a prayer session. Abdi Sheikh, the administrative head of the Lewiston Auburn Islamic Center, said it would be appropriate for the US attorney to file a federal hate crime complaint against Brent Matthews. "I think it will send a powerful message to Mr. Matthews and others who may want to do harm either to the Islamic community or any other community," said Sheikh. Worshippers at the Islamic Center are predominantly Somali immigrants. Matthews, 33, was charged with desecration of a place of worship, a misdemeanor, for rolling a frozen pig's head into the mosque while 26 men prayed on the night of July 3. Muslims are forbidden from eating pig and pork products.