Leipzig - A dead pig with German Chancellor Angela Merkel's name painted on it was found on the building site of a mosque in the eastern German city of Leipzig, police said
The words "Mutti Merkel" were scrawled onto the carcass in red paint, police said. "Mutti" is the German word for "mum" and is often used to refer to the German leader.
The act is also an affront to Muslims, many of whom abstain from eating pork because pigs are considered impure animals in the faith's teachings.
"On account of the circumstances, it is likely that we are dealing with a xenophobic or racist act," police spokesperson Uwe Voigt said.
Merkel has come up against criticism from right-wing groups and within her own coalition for an open-door policy that allowed 1.1 million migrants - many of them refugees fleeing war in the Middle East - into the country in 2015.
"To symbolically compare a person to a pig and to threaten the chancellor with death is another low point and evidence of the coarsening political debate," local parliamentarian Holger Mann told dpa.
An investigation has been launched into the matter, but will initially focus on insults made to the chancellor.
The mosque's imam, Said Ahmad Arif, said he was puzzled by the act but remained defiant: "The mosque is being built." He also said critics were always welcome to speak to members of the mosque's Ahmadiyya Muslim community.
This is not the first time that the site in Leipzig has been targeted. In 2013, the severed heads of five pigs were found there after weeks of protests against the construction of the mosque.
Voigt said police have been unable to find the culprits.
Leipzig is situated in the eastern state of Saxony, where a recent spike in xenophobic attacks against migrants and refugees has prompted concern at a national level.
In the central state of Hessen, authorities in the town of Marburg had also launched an investigation after a teddy bear was found with its throat cut and smeared with red paint outside an accommodation for migrants.