HOUSTON - A Muslim-American restaurant owner in Galveston said someone smeared bacon fat on the front of his business and left bacon at his doorstep.
"We're a restaurant. We're not political," said Asad Khan, who owns ZaZa Bar and Bites in downtown Galveston.
Khan follows Islam's stance against pork, which is not offered on the menu. He believes because of that, someone targeted him.
"Somebody went out, planned this, bought bacon, put it on my business, knowing full well that bacon represents an insult to Islam," Khan said.
Khan says the bacon was smeared on his business twice: last Sunday and then several days later.
"You have a right to an opinion, I'm OK with that, but the opinion, when it becomes somewhat of an action, that's when I'm concerned."
Galveston police officers are investigating and community activists are calling the smearing a hate crime.
Mustafaa Carroll, executive director of CAIR-Houston, said in a statement, "Bias is the only reasonable explanation for the use of bacon in vandalism targeting a Muslim-owned business..."
Patrons are rallying around Khan.
Members of Congregation B'nai Israel met for dinner at the restaurant and said that hate will not be tolerated.
"I think that hatred grows when it's not confronted," said diner Sara Salzman.
"We will not allow this to stand in this community. This will not happen. We need to come out to let him know we have his back," diner MJ Osgood added.
Khan, who immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan in 1993, said he was "humbled by and grateful for" the support from the community.
Khan added that food builds unity, which was his goal in opening ZaZa Bar and Bites less than one year ago.
Hopefully, he said that goal will help change whoever set out to hurt him.
"That was the main purpose, to show that we have really great cuisine," he said.
"If you taste our food then you'll understand us a little better, you know?"