A sign outside the Five Pillars Butchery farm on the Detroit Road in Troy, seen Wednesday, has been repaired. Someone shot and damaged the sign Sunday, but Hussam Alrawi fixed it after police investigated, saying he wants to send a message that he and his family are in Troy to stay. David Leaming/Morning Sentinel

TROY — A national Muslim advocacy group is calling on Maine law enforcement to investigate whether Islamophobia played a role in an alleged shooting Sunday of a sign at a Muslim family’s halal butchery business.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, sent a report Wednesday to the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office after being contacted by the owners of Five Pillars Butchery, Hussam Alrawi and his wife, Kathryn Piper.

“My family is terrified,” Alrawi said in a phone interview Wednesday. “My kids and my wife, we don’t know what’s going on.”

Alrawi, originally from Baghdad, Iraq, and now a permanent resident of the United States, said that he built the sign himself and put it up Sunday. About an hour after Alrawi went into his home, where his business is located, and as he was sitting with his wife and their two children, the family heard a loud noise outside.

It wasn’t until Monday morning that Alrawi saw the eight holes in the sign.

“We’re not certain it was motivated by bias, but the timing is strange,” Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s national communications director, said over the phone Wednesday. “The wife wears an Islamic head scarf. I’m not aware of any other Muslim families in the area. It happened just an hour after he finished putting up the sign. All these things lead to the need to at least investigate the possibility that there was a bias motive.”

Hooper said CAIR has seen a rise in Islamophobia nationwide since President Trump began his 2016 campaign for president.

A representative from the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office was not available Wednesday.

Alrawi said he is not sure whether he was targeted because of his faith, but if that is the case, it is the first time he has experienced Islamophobia directed at him and his family since moving to the United States nearly two years ago.

The couple met and were married about five years ago while Piper was teaching English abroad. Piper, who converted to Islam eight years ago, said her father’s family is from Maine.

About one year ago, Alrawi opened Five Pillars Butchery – a name that refers to the five pillars of Islam: faith, prayer, charity, fasting and pilgrimage to Mecca. Alrawi wanted to offer a quality product for Muslims that any Mainer would be happy to put on the dinner table.

But now Alrawi said he is worried about his family’s safety.

“It’s not like a hate message that they sent; it was an actual shooting,” he said. “What would the next thing be? Maybe if I was out by the side of the road I would have been shot.”

Piper said in an email that the incident “breaks her heart.”

“I want to stress that it wasn’t just an attack on our business sign. It was an attack on our home, a home with 2 children 3 years old and under,” she said.

Alwari said that the family hopes to get to know the community better. And despite the incident, the family will be sticking around, he said.

“After a couple hours (after the police left Sunday), I called the police and asked if I could fix (the sign) so I could send a message to the shooter that we are here and we’re staying.”

Emily Higginbotham can be contacted at 861-9239 or at:

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