TROY — A Muslim family that was the target in a incident in which someone apparently shot a gun at a newly built sign for their business has received what they called “a sizeable donation” from another local businessman who wanted to show his support.

The benefactor, who wished to remain anonymous, said he read about what happened at Five Pillars Butchery in Troy and was disappointed and saddened that someone might have targeted the family because of their faith.

“I wanted them to know that there are people around here who care that they’re here,” he said.

Hussam Al Rawi and Kathryn Piper, who own the halal butchery business, expressed their gratitude to the donor as well as the many others who have come by their business, sent them emails or posted on the company’s Facebook page to show support.

“He said such beautiful supporting words,” Al Rawi said in an interview Thursday. “It feels very comforting.”

Piper said there has been an outpouring of support from people in the area and around the state.


“I really want people to know how grateful we are of the outreach and we truly appreciate everyone’s words of comfort,” she said Thursday. “We knew there would be support for us and we wanted to show whoever did this that they’re alone, not us.”

Al Rawi and Piper both said Wednesday that the shooting — which left eight holes in the sign that Al Rawi had finished putting up just an hour earlier — made them fear for the safety of their family, which includes two young children, ages 3 and 15 months.

“I want to stress that it wasn’t just an attack on our business sign. It was an attack on our home,” Piper said Wednesday.

Al Rawi, who is originally from Baghdad, Iraq, and is now a permanent U.S. resident, said that he was terrified by the shooting and was afraid of what might come next.

Al Rawi and Piper opened Five Pillars Butchery — a name that refers to the five pillars of Islam: faith, prayer, charity, fasting and pilgrimage to Mecca, the basic mandatory acts for those who practice the religion — about one year ago because of the difficulty they had finding halal — permissible — meat of quality. Al Rawi said he wanted the Muslim community in Maine to have a high quality halal option.

According to the butchery’s website, in order for a meat to be permissible in Islamic tradition, the animal is handled gently and maneuvered so that it faces toward Mecca. God’s name should be mentioned and then the animal is killed with a swift cut to its throat so that its blood is drained from its body.


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 and she spent summers here. For their first year in Maine, the couple and their children lived with her parents in Searsport before moving to Troy.

Piper, who in the past has been involved in outreach events put on by the Islamic Center of Maine in Orono — a mosque and community of which the family is a part — said she wants to continue that work and organize similar events in the Troy area in the future.

The Waldo County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday it is investigating the shooting actively. Jason Trundy, the sheriff’s chief deputy, said Thursday afternoon the office received an email from a national Muslim advocacy group called Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, which asked that the police look at a bias against Muslims as a possible motive for the shooting. Trundy said trying to find out what motivated a suspect is part of any normal investigation and would be looked at in this case.

Trundy said that, depending on the information generated from the investigation, charges that might be brought if a suspect is ever caught could be criminal mischief, reckless conduct and reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon. If the police are able to determine that the family was targeted because of its Muslim faith, Trundy said the office would look to coordinate with the attorney general on the best way to move forward with applicable charges.

Emily Higginbotham — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @EmilyHigg

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