Author Topic: Muslim men face jail for handing out gay hate leaflets.  (Read 556 times)

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Offline thaiga

Muslim men face jail for handing out gay hate leaflets.
« on: January 21, 2012, 10:46:47 AM »

A group of Muslim men who distributed leaflets calling for gay people to be executed were today facing jail.

Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed and Razwan Javed handed the pamphlet, entitled The Death Penalty?, which showed an image of a mannequin hanging from a noose and quoted Islamic texts that said capital punishment was the only way to rid society of homosexuality.

At Derby Crown Court, they were convicted by a jury of distributing threatening written material intending to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation - the first prosecution of its kind since legislation came into force in March 2010.

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Mehboob Hussain and Umar Javed, who were also charged with the same offence, were found not guilty.

A two-week trial heard that the men, who are all from Derby, admitted distributing the leaflet but said they were simply quoting and following what their religion teaches about homosexuality and did not intend to threaten anyone.

The leaflet was handed out outside and near the Jamia Mosque in Derby's Rosehill Street and in streets around the local neighbourhood in July 2010.

It was made and used as part of a campaign to publicise a protest in response to the Gay Pride parade due to be held in Derby on July 10 that year.

Taxi driver Ali, 42, of Fairfax Road, who the prosecution said was believed to be the main organiser and supplier of the leaflets, was found guilty of four counts of distribution on July 2 and July 4.

Ahmed, 28, who is married with a nine-month-old daughter and lives in Madeley Street, and Razwan Javed, 28, of Wilfred Street, were convicted of distribution in the area of the mosque on July 2.

But married taxi driver Mehboob Hussain, 45, of Rosehill Street, and Razwan's brother Umar Javed, 38, a married takeaway worker who lives in Whittaker Street, were both cleared of distribution relating to posting the leaflets through the letterboxes of homes on July 4.

Zarif Khan, representing Razwan Javed, said they would be looking to appeal the convictions.

During the trial the court heard that two other leaflets were also distributed and were relevant in the case to show intent even though charges had not been brought in relation to them.

The leaflets were called Gay - an acronym for God Abhors You - and Turn Or Burn, and prosecutor Bobbie Cheema said they contained excerpts from scriptures in the Koran concerning homosexuality.

A fourth leaflet - Dead Derby - was also found by police but was not distributed.

The court heard that the Death Penalty? leaflet outlined the history and legalisation of the Buggery Act in England.

The leaflet states that the Islamic verdict on anyone caught committing homosexuality is to apply capital punishment to both parties involved.

It states: "The death sentence is the only way this immoral crime can be erased from corrupting society and act as a deterrent for any other ill person who is remotely inclined in this bent way."

The leaflet continues: "The only dispute amongst the classical authorities was the method employed in carrying out the penal code."

It goes on to offer burning, being flung from a high point such as a mountain or building, or being stoned to death as suitable methods.

Jurors were told that the leaflets were not informative or educational but were simply "threatening, offensive, frightening and nasty".

The court heard that Ali told other defendants the leaflets had been checked by police and solicitors for any legal problems or possible criminal offences, but this did not appear to be the case.

The court heard evidence from one gay man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, who received the Turn Or Burn and Death Penalty? leaflets through the door of his home on two occasions.

He said the first leaflet, Turn Or Burn, made him feel "quite horrified" and it was after he received Death Penalty? that he called the police.

He said of the leaflets: "They made me feel terrorised in my own home.

"Sometimes I wondered whether I would be getting a burning rag through the letterbox or if I would be attacked in the street."

He went on: "My fear is that there are some very gullible people that would read literature like this and take it as a green light for permission to commit violence or even murder, if it goes that far."

Sue Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service special crime and counter terrorism division, said: "A court has heard for the first time from witnesses how they felt, as gay men, when they read a leaflet calling for the death penalty for homosexuals.

"Everyone has a right to be protected by the law and we regard homophobic crimes, along with all hate crimes, as particularly serious because they undermine people's right to feel safe.

"While people are entitled to hold extreme opinions which others may find unpleasant and obnoxious, they are not entitled to distribute those opinions in a threatening manner intending to stir up hatred against gay people."

Chief Inspector Sunita Gamblin said: "This is a landmark case. It's the first time that Derbyshire have ever used this legislation and it's actually the first time nationally that this legislation has been used."

She added that such behaviour was not widespread in the community and that the wider Muslim community did not agree with the content of the leaflets.

"They're very pleased that the police have taken positive action and I'm sure they'll be very pleased with the outcome too."

She added that the maximum sentence for inciting hatred was seven years' imprisonment.

The men will be sentenced on February 10
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