Three Men Convicted of Inciting Anti-Gay Hate in First-of-Its-Kind Trial in the UK

Three Muslim men have been convicted in the UK over inciting hatred on the basis of sexuality for distributing leaflets calling for gay people to be killed. One of the leaflets used G-A-Y initials spelling out the phrase 'God Abhors You'. Another said 'turn or burn' and depicted a 'homosexual' drowning in a lake of fire. It's a first-of-its-kind conviction

UkcaseThe Guardian reports:

In a landmark case, a jury at Derby crown court ruled that Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed and Razwan Javed had breached hate crime legislation by handing out the leaflets outside the Jama mosque, in Rosehill Street, Derby, in July 2010, as well as putting them through nearby letterboxes. Sentencing was adjourned until 10 February. Two other men, Mehboob Hussain and Umar Javed, were found not guilty of the same charge.

One leaflet, entitled "Death Penalty?", showed an image of a mannequin hanging by the neck from a noose, accompanied by references to homosexual sex.

The men had pleaded guilty to distributing the flyers but not to the charges:

After the verdicts, Sue Hemming, the head of the Crown Prosecution Service's special crime and counter-terrorism division, said: "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.

"This case was not about curtailing people's religious views or preventing them from educating others about those views – it was that any such views should be expressed in a lawful manner and not incite others to hatred."

The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, which came into force in 2010, made it an offence to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The BBC adds:

One gay man, who gave evidence but cannot be identified for legal reasons, said he 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.

"They made me feel terrorised in my own home," he said. "Sometimes I wondered whether I would be getting a burning rag through the letterbox or if I would be attacked in the street.

Comments

  1. says

    GOOD. there is indeed and important and easily-discernible distinction between ‘free speech’ and harmful speech which exists solely to incite hatred toward a targeted group.

    many other countries are able to see this distinction, and they’re doing something about it.

    Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms beautifully lays it out.

    a person’s “right” to spread and promote dangerous and harmful bigotry is less important than the safety and wellbeing of those targeted by said speech.

    truth.

  2. The Milkman says

    I struggle with the UK’s concept of hate crimes legislation. On the one hand, I tend to prefer a more American-style free speech ethos, even though that approach has its drawbacks. But on the other hand, I recognize that fundamentalist religous organizations are by definition unreasonable, and that their effects on the community really should be regulated in some way. So while I do feel a sense of satisfaction in seeing these violent neanderthals removed from the community, I also think that this approach to the free exercise of speech is a double-edged sword. I will be interested to see how this decision is interpreted and cited in future such cases.

  3. says

    Canada has had explicit, specific and intellectually-discernible outlines and guidelines for hate speech for twenty years.

    the reason such things will not work in the USA for a long while is because, and forgive me for saying this, but far too many Americans do not seem able to distinguish between facts and opinions.

    it’s calling into question Intent and Motivation: which the justice system revolves around anyway. what is the intent? to promote and encourage hatred against a targeted group.

    that so many Americans continue to defend this is the reason the US is still decades behind other countries when it comes to human rights issues.

    now, this is not a condemnation of all Americans. not by any means. but you all know what i’m talking about – the same idiots who say “freedom of speech!”” in issues that have nothing to do with the actual First Amendment at all.

    hate speech is not “something that someone says that you just don’t like”. not at all. and anyone who thinks that is intellectually feeble.

    for twenty years Canada has had hate speech legislations. in the last 20 years we’ve seen a massive increase in pro-Equality legislation, policy and social change.

    make the connection. when hatred is not marketed and advertised then fewer people adopt it.

    there’s a reason tobacco companies aren’t allowed to market to children, folks.

    think about it.

  4. says

    Max, “Islam” isn’t the reason you’re afraid to be openly gay.

    nor is it the reason your parents resent having a gay son.

    nor is it the reason LGBT people in America continue to be discriminated against.

    keep sucking up the GOP , Max. maybe one day your parents will be less ashamed of you. unlikely, of course.

  5. paul says

    Little Kiwi that is one of the most sensible and incisive comments i have seen on the free speech/first amendment/hate speech issue i have read in long time. Thankfully your razor sharp brain is out there.

  6. topher says

    @Kiwi: Dude, give it a rest. Every single one of your posts includes the “your dad won’t hug you” theme. Nothing is that simple as to be reduced to a cartoon, and more importantly: if that’s the case, it’s really low of you to be mocking people’s issues with their families just to prove your increasingly inane points.

  7. says

    hey Topher, when self-hating and community-defeating resentful white conservative homosexuals stop blaming everyone else for their own problems i’ll stop pointing out how brutally obvious their issues are.

  8. Zlick says

    +1 to Topher’s critique. Little Kiwi, your statements are often insightful and helpful, but enough already with the pop-psychology daddy issues on seemingly every single post of yours. It’s grating, ridiculous, and detracts from your otherwise valid points.

  9. says

    This is a great “first case” on the incitement to hatred legislation…….it is an important precedent showing the haters that the concept of “free speech” is not one that will allow harm to be done to or advocated against any group or individual.
    So well done to the Crown Prosecution Service of the UK.

    From what I read on these posts the USA amendment of free speech seems more “free for all”.

  10. says

    i hear ya. i’ll town it down. but it aint pop-pyschology. you show me an anti-black, anti-Islam, white conservative homosexual who complains about “stereotypical gays” and “leftists” and i’ll show you a boy still begging a prejudiced father for tolerance.

    it’s not pop-psychology. it’s simple observation. everyone knows what i’m talking about.

  11. Max says

    Little Kiwi, it’s embarrassing how determined you are to remain so ignorant about Islam. What will it take to educate you?

    Oh, and my entire family is supportive of me. Stop projecting *your* daddy issues onto other people.

  12. topher says

    @Kiwi: that’s exactly it: not everyone you disagree with is a “self-hating and community-defeating resentful white conservative homosexuals” (and ‘their issues’? You actually sound quite conservative here! – you know what’s wrong with the and you’ve got the solution for them, which is to basically bulldoze over them and shape them up to your liking. All this from your all-knowing all-wise vantage point. Where have I heard this before? Right! Ex-gay clinics and religious folk. People aren’t that different, apparently, regardless of whatever team they play for).
    Anyways, back to what I was saying: not everyone you disagree with fits the cartoon you so radically try to portray.
    My unwanted advice? Look for nuance. It might help curbing those tendencies for sweeping generalizations, that not only are wrong about 100% of the times, but also make the person look like a bigot.

  13. sugarrhill says

    I with Little Kiwi, this site never gets the same amount or racist, misogynistic vitriolic comments as it does when the the homophobic subject is a White person. And when it’s a white person doing the fag bashing it almost never indicative or damning of the entire race. I really wish that Andy would moderate the commments section more or at least bring down the ban hammer on those that choose to voice their racist propaganda time and time again. Keep up the good fight, Little Kiwi. Someone has to keep these closet cased, White supremacists with Daddy issues in check.

  14. Luke says

    This makes me proud to be British. I would like to thank the English legal system for protecting the public from inciting violence and hatrid. Perhaps we should use sharia punishment. Anyway good luck in prison lads…

  15. Artie says

    Max,

    Islam is definitely the problem on the other side of the ocean. I ask you to understand the difference between the problem that Islam creates and the countries and populations in the Middle East that are struggling to become more secular. More secular-minded folks in the Middle East deserve our encouragement, don’t you think, Max?

    A second point on which I’m sure that you and I can agree is that on our side of the ocean, Christian dominionists are a much bigger problem for the cause of equality. But I’m glad you care about what happens on the other side of the ocean. I wouldn’t want Europe to sleep while the European problem of radical Islam takes root. It’s really Europeans that have to reassess Islam within Europe. We have our hands full over here with all the white evangelical Christian asswipes who control the Republican Party. Hopefully, I’m not inadvertently insulting the relatives of any of the commenters here today. (That last was intended as gentle humor, not invective.)

  16. LJames says

    Little Kiki’s comments are about as interesting as his “blog.”

    Sugarrrhill – you’re totally Derrick From Philly (with a new screen name), aren’t you? So sadly obvious. “blame whitey, blame whitey for everything.” Zzzzz….zzz…zzz….

  17. robert in nyc says

    The Milkman, the British law regarding hate speech only is used when incitement to commit violent acts is concerned. I fully support it.

    You can be sure had this been the Jewish or Black community targeted in America, this would have garnered public uproar and you’d see how fast people would rally to demand prosecution of the perpetrators. Hate crimes are prosecutable offenses in this country when they incite violence or killing be they written or verbal, so it’s not much different than the UK in that respect. You can’t even threaten the life of an American politician and get away with it either.

  18. atomic says

    One must not be afraid to make the necessary connection between organized religion and anti-gay bigotry when that connection exists. Why is it that we consider it entirely appropriate to do so when it comes to Christian fundamentalism, but not Islamic fundamentalism?

    I strongly recommend you do a YouTube search for “Sam Harris” and listen to what he has to say about Islam. His ideas are controversial, but they are quite firmly grounded in reason and a historical understanding of religious dogmatism. He is absolutely correct to decry the conventional liberal claim of Islam as a religion of peace, the reasoning of which largely originates from a need to push back against the Christian conservative accusations of Islam as a religion of violence. He quite rightly points out that just because religious fanatics come to the correct conclusion about something does not mean you, as a humanist, must take a contrary position.

  19. Pochocla says

    Good for the conviction. You can have your opinions. But inciting others into committing murder is not just an opinion. Even though the sentence will be more or less symbolical –I guess- the worse is that these people will learn nothing but to be more hateful and canning into planning their next steps. Islam, source of so much evil –even if not alone in that- can ideologically sustain hordes of nuts who feel absolutely entitled to do their bidding whenever and wherever they are. Britain failed with their policy of immigration and multiculturalism and is forced to pay the price that it will turn harder with time. But in the long term the weak minorities –as the LGTB- will end up being damaged and secluded again, as by definition they will never grow exponentially as those groups with atavist ideas.

  20. rafi says

    “this site never gets the same amount or racist, misogynistic vitriolic comments as it does when the the homophobic subject is a White person.”

    Bingo. I went to the comments for this post specifically to see how many people would be Muslim-bashing.

    A lot of people here lack the ability to hold nuanced views. Muslims and Christians should be able to practice their beliefs, and I’ll defend their right to do it. Until the practice of those beliefs harms others, as is the case here. I’m glad for this conviction.

    One can take issue with fundamentalism in all its forms without disparaging all members of whatever religion.

  21. Max says

    “One can take issue with fundamentalism in all its forms without disparaging all members of whatever religion.”

    That is true, Rafi, but Islam is by far the worst and you know it. Muslims threatened gays, not the other way around, so spare us the “Muslim-bashing” BS.

  22. anon says

    Ugh. The standard in the US is “making terroristic threats”, which means making specific calls to violence targeting a well defined group or individuals. By well defined we are not referring to any group, but rather one that can easily be ascertained, such as the Fred Phelps gang or anyone going to a particular bar on a particular date. Vague threats are not prosecuted, and that’s a good thing if anyone cares to read the comments on blogs such as TR. A lot of the comments against religion on this blog would be illegal in the UK. It cuts both ways. In the US there is also a civil tort standard for things like handing out leaflets that might cause emotional harm, but these civil cases rarely make trial owing to the difficulty of establishing a firm basis of intent.

  23. MaddM@ says

    It’s not a “this is Islam” thing, it’s a “this is fundamentalism” thing- we have the same people in america with different unfortunate religious codes of dress (broke looking beard vs pentecostal skirts…) that have equally vile opinions. I would love something like that to happen here as which side would the american taliban take?

    Very interesting though how it would come off actually being delivered through your door… If I got a pamphlet that had something hung by a noose and any pictographic representation of something related to me I would definitely find that assault and therefore not protected (which is established precedent). I think the problem here in the US is not that people are too in love with free speech but people don’t want potential means of control to be stifled, such as spewing hateful propaganda. We only stopped being abjectly racist <50 years ago, you know

  24. MaddM@ says

    It’s not a “this is Islam” thing, it’s a “this is fundamentalism” thing- we have the same people in america with different unfortunate religious codes of dress (broke looking beard vs pentecostal skirts…) that have equally vile opinions. I would love something like that to happen here as which side would the american taliban take?

    Very interesting though how it would come off actually being delivered through your door… If I got a pamphlet that had something hung by a noose and any pictographic representation of something related to me I would definitely find that assault and therefore not protected (which is established precedent). I think the problem here in the US is not that people are too in love with free speech but people don’t want potential means of control to be stifled, such as spewing hateful propaganda. We only stopped being abjectly racist <50 years ago, you know

  25. Caliban says

    I’m not going to defend Islam, just as I don’t defend Christianity, Judaism or Mormonism. It’s ALL sky-fairy BS so far as I’m concerned. IMO, the biggest problem with all those religions isn’t so much the beliefs themselves but FUNDAMENTALISM and the belief that ones religious beliefs should be made into civil law.

    However, I also believe that Freedom of Religion doesn’t JUST apply to Christianity or Judaism. It’s either “free” or it isn’t, though firm lines need to be drawn between belief and action. If a church or minister tells people how to vote or who to vote for from the pulpit they should lose their tax-exempt status. Period. Religion has gotten away with far too much for far too long in this country despite its being the source of so much conflict. Enough. As court case after court has affirmed, “I believe” and “The Bible (or Koran or Torah) says” have no place in a court of law or in government.

  26. Contrarian says

    This conviction was in a UK court. What pray tell will these hairy unkempt haters suffer? A vigorous finger-wagging rebuke? Loss of access to a soapbox for 30 days? Does anyone expect a prison term, because I don’t. Moreover, the UK is crawling with replacements for these would-be jihadists. Hate for LBGT is only one of their pantheon of designated hate objects. They claim to love Islam but don’t love it enough to live in a Muslim run country.

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