Muslim Men Who Handed Out Death-To-Gays Pamphlets Found Guilty Of Hate Crime

Nobody has ever been put on trial in the UK for distributing inflammatory materials based on sexual orientation. In this landmark case, three of the five Derby men tried are the first to have been found guilty of the hate crime, which was passed in 2010 as an amendment to the 1986 Public Order Act to include materials used to stir up hatred based on sexual orientation.

Ihjaz Ali, 42, Kabir Ahmed, 28, and Razwan Javed, 27, were pronounced guilty of promoting hatred against gays. They created leaflets with titles like Turn or Burn and God Abhors You, bearing images of men hanging from nooses and lakes of fire, and distributed them outside Derby’s Jaima Mosque in July 2010.

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of campaign group Stonewall, said after the hearing:

“We’re satisfied to see these extremists convicted for distributing offensive and inflammatory leaflets that suggested gay people should be burnt or stoned to death. Witnesses told the court they felt threatened and deeply fearful in their own homes. People from all communities will feel safer knowing that the law now makes it harder to stir up hatred and violence against gay people.”

Now if we can get a version of this law passed in America, maybe the Westboro Baptist Church will have a harder time promoting their idiotic bigotry.

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  • Cam

    And just watch, they will claim that THEY are the victims because people won’t let them attack gays.

  • MikeE

    one of them actually claimed (in court, during the trial) to have “nothing against gays”, so there IS a great deal of delusional behaviour here.

  • EdWoody

    Earlier stories in this situation said that the men had actually had the materials checked for anything illegal before they distributed them, and were told they were fine. So they were genuinely surprised that they were arrested or that people might be upset. However, one of the five said that, having listened to the stories of some actual gay people, he now sees the error of his ways and apologized.

  • Miriam

    As much as this sortof thing fills me with rage, I still wouldn’t support the types of anti hate speech laws they have in Europe to come here. I’d rather know who these types of bigots are, so I can avoid them, or, better yet, talk to them and possibly show them the error of their ways. I’d rather they didn’t develop the ability to hetter hide their bigotry.

    *Note: this doesn’t mean I don’t support anti-bullying legislation, or the removal of legislation making it impossible for teachers to talk to students about gay issues. It’s simply about people’s freedom of speech, no matter how offensive.

  • hyhybt

    I’m too fond of the First Amendment, perhaps. Though depending on the contents and context, perhaps these would qualify as inciting violence…

  • Global Traveler

    If the same behavior directed at any other minority would have resulted in the same charges, then they are getting what they deserved. It’s highly unlikely that a group of muslim youths would have been allowed to distribute pamphlets saying that Jews were going to burn in hell or should be stoned to death. This would have been viewed as inciting violence, and rightfully so.

    I’m as big a defender of the first amendment as anyone, but my right to free speech ends when it threatens your physical safety.

    There are over a billion muslims in the world. I’m sure they could move somewhere where the majority of people would support their beliefs. (and no, I’m not anti immigrant.)

  • Interesting

    THIS IS IN THE UK. I capitalize that because of all the idiotic comments about the 1st Amendment. The 1st Amendment, whatever you meant, is where free speech is found in the U.S. federal constitution.

  • Sohobod

    @ Interesting.

    From reading the posts, I’m pretty sure that people understood that the story is about the UK.

    I’m a Brit, and to be honest, don’t really get the 1st Amendment. We, in the UK, can say what the hell we want. But we can’t incite people to hate or cause violence to each other. That seems perfectly reasonable to me. But maybe we’ve developed this way because we live on a crowded island and we have to create laws that are designed so it’s easier for us to get on with our neighbours, no matter how much we dissagree with them.

  • hyhybt

    @Interesting: How is it idiotic to mention the 1st Amendment in relation to whether this would be treated the same this side of the Atlantic as it is over there?

  • Isaac C

    @Global Traveler: The question remains of why these people seek to invade Western countries and attack the people and liberties that the West has come to protect. If a country/culture doesn’t remotely conform to your religious culture or convictions, why stay there and antagonize its citizens?

    Fortunately, it does appear that there has been a response against these sorts of people. Perhaps the U.K. and the rest of Europe is waking up to the threat.

  • Sohobod

    @ Isaac C

    To be fair, these extremist Muslims’ in Britain are a fringe of a fringe. Although Islam in general is not gay-friendly, nor too is the Catholic church or your more right-wing rabbi.They all, in their own way, seem to be opposed to Western pluralistic values.
    The laws are framed in the UK in such a way that you can hate whoever you like – but you can’t act upon those hatreds, or incite others to act upon them.
    And in the case of those convicted in Derby (pronounce Darby, for the Americans’) they will think twice before they disturb the Queen’s Peace again – pun intended.

  • Doucheophobe

    @Isaac C: Those men aren’t “invading” anything. They were born in Britain. These guys are vile homophobes, but you’re a racist. You’re garbage, just like them.

  • Isaac C

    @Sohobod: “Although Islam in general is not gay-friendly, nor too is the Catholic church or your more right-wing rabbi.They all, in their own way, seem to be opposed to Western pluralistic values.”

    I have to disagree with this. I think there are very important differences between extremist Islamic culture and these other groups you mentioned.

  • randy

    @Sohobod: Possibly. But I think that the Brits have had centuries of burning people at the stake because they were the wrong religion or political party, or didn’t like the head that wears the crown. You guys have learned it’s better to enjoy some sandwiches over tea than to be running around the heaths with swords and guns.

  • Hephaestion

    I wish we could have a law like this in the US. Attacks on Jew and Blacks get condemned here, but attacks on us do not. We need the UK law over here.

  • Kylew

    @Sohobod: Do you really think that they are a fringe of a fringe? The place where they live is largely Muslim (or at least has a very substantial Musim enclave); they have mosques and this is where all of these muslims preaching hate and recruiting for terrosism are coming from. Jeez, we can’t even deport a muslim in the UK said to be the voice of Bin Laden in this country. I am all for this action, especially as, as the news story seems to imply, some of these leaflets were targetted specifically at known homosexuals. That stepd over the line from freedom of speech (which I don’t believe in anyway) to intimidation.

  • B

    No. 8 · Sohobod wrote, “I’m a Brit, and to be honest, don’t really get the 1st Amendment. We, in the UK, can say what the hell we want. But we can’t incite people to hate or cause violence to each other.”

    What the 1st Amendment literally states is, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    The intention regarding free speech is to encourage the expression of ideas, including unpopular ones. It does not include the right to incite a riot, threaten someone, or “shout FIRE in a crowded theater” (a sometimes misunderstood statement – at the time this example was constructed, theaters were typically firetraps so the likely outcome of shouting FIRE when there was none would be injuries or deaths in the mad scramble to get out). I’m sure they wanted unpopular ideas to be discussed objectively – on their merits so that the good ones would be kept and the bad ones dropped.

    Keep in mind that some ideas we now accept as being obvious were offensive to many at the time. For example, suggesting that Africans were equal to Europeans or that there was nothing wrong with interracial marriages. A few decades from now, nearly everyone will probably believe that the current restrictions in many U.S. states against same-sex marriages is a national embarrassment. If the religious nuts could have their way, it would be illegal to make statements in favor of same-sex marriages and we’d make no progress at all.

  • Isaac C

    @Kylew: I agree.

  • andrew doM

    Its important to note that the prosecution had to prove far more than mere offense. There is no prohibition on offending people! They were convicted because they were judged by the court to be inciting violence, leaving some gay men in fear of their lives.

  • ewe

    @andrew doM: that’s right and no one has the right to repeatedly intend to cause you alarm.

  • Isaac C

    @ewe: Hahahaha! Love it!

  • JayKay


    No, no we don’t. I’d rather put up with a few wackos saying mean things about me than risk going to jail for using the wrong pronoun and having someone report it as hate speech. We’re fine without the draconian thought-police nonsense.

  • vozhak

    wow the level of nationalistic moralising is rife on this thread. You think your precious first amendment is so perfect yet you fail to see how it privileges the established religious order over everyone, and allows the most offensive things to be said against you and you are incited against it’s difficult to prove incitement especially when religious suppression is screamed. The UK has it right (I am not UK, from the Caribbean actually), these are criminals and need to be jailed. The UK has a long history of getting things done and being progressive, something that you are still in the dark ages about. All things even speech come with a limit, to ignore that is to be delusional.

  • Brand

    @JayKay: This slippery slope hyperbole hypothetical is the sort of thing the homophobes use against gays all the time, or use to talk about taxes, or guns, or religious freedom, don’t stoop to their level.

    Nobody’s going to go to jail for using the wrong pronoun (at least, not unless you’re in a handful of countries in Africa or the Middle East or the Pacific Islands). They’re going to go to jail (in places where such a law were to exist) if a court can prove you were fomenting violent hate crimes, which is a form of terrorism. Drawing a picture of some dude taking off a necktie as he talks about getting high with his buddies will not inadvertently be misconstrued as a screed gleefully depicting a persecuted minority hanging dead from a noose and a directive to take violent action or stone to death members of that minority people find in their community.

    Obama didn’t take everybody’s guns and gay marriage doesn’t mean your great auntie can marry all her nieces and dogs and the Sunday paper. We have rights in this country only up to the point at which we are abridging the rights of another in the exercise of our own. Serious death threats and incitement to grisly violence abridges the rights of the would-be victim(s) of a persecuted group. Speech has power, and when it is intending to use that power to kill, there is no freedom intended by the founders or worth defending by our more enlightened age that is lost by distinguishing and preserving the balance between the rights of all citizens, and adjudicating the cases of those who should know they are crossing the line into inciting bloodlust and carnage, or quiet little murders for that matter.

    I am a Christian, and the Judeo-Christian Bible says all manner of lousy things about when you’re supposed to stone people to death as well, even when they’re in your own family. Clearly passages like these and those in favor of slavery, etc., which were once used to justify those practices even in our own country, are now acknowledged to be overriden by the founding documents that existed even as this country supported some of those things. The North looked the other way as long as it could—largely for the same argument the Republicans push about everything these days too: greater profits for those who already have something going is the end-all, be-all, and government should get out of the way and let capitalism go unregulated, allowing states to decide whether people can own slaves, and put kids to work, and so on. They come on strong with these pure ideologies without a shred of acknowledgement that we have the history we’ve had and have chosen to move in this direction out of that place, and the prevention of terrorism and the support of minority rights—even when some in the minority are terrorists—are why we have officers of the law, and arbiters of the law, and legislators of the law. We’re a work in progress, fraught with contradictions and those who would push them to extremes; otherwise the Congress and the judges could all go home and we’d all agree to abide by the status quo.

    What they used to do was restrict immigration from certain countries, or refuse to allow them to live or “loiter” in your town or state, or exert intense cultural and community pressure to assimilate and become less ethnic, or run them into a pen and hold them during a time of hostilities, all of which we did at one time or another despite the unconstitutionality of THOSE things. We need to safeguard the rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority even as we safeguard the rights of the majority from the tyranny of the adherents of Sharia law, or the archaic laws of the Christian Bible for that matter.

    What I want to know is, what is the sentence? Deportation? Jail time? Fines? Community service? Cultural sensitivity training?

  • the other Greg

    @vozhak: “The UK has it right (I am not UK, from the Caribbean actually)” … “The UK has a long history of getting things done and being progressive, something that you are still in the dark ages about.”

    That’s funny, it seems that every time some ex-colony of Britain has anti-gay laws, or just a problem with extreme homophobic culture, someone explains how it’s all the fault of some homophobic colonial laws the UK foisted on them decades or centuries ago. Amazingly, every culture seems to have been an idyllic homophile paradise until those darn Victorian imperialists took over and screwed up everything. And even though the Brits left decades ago before most people living in the place were born, every bad thing that happens in the place nowadays is still somehow the Brits’ fault.

    Well it’s nice to hear the opposing point of view! Apparently you were not a sociology major?

  • ousslander

    if gays handed out leaflets calling for the deaths of muslims, you know theses scumbags would have been crying about it and calling for prosecution.
    Acommentar said why don’t they live in a majority muslim country because they have no freedoms there (subjugated by other muslims) and they want use our freedoms against us.

  • Paul Mc

    Very interesting debate on this thread – free speech vs freedom of speech.

    The UK does have freedom of speech… Just look at tabloids, at least up to the last six months. They have no requirement to print the truth…. A free press is a key pillar of the guarantee of free speech and I would argue the UK is well provided for in that regard having many national dailies with competing political standpoints. uS papers are very mute I find in contrast. tV is another matter and the reverse is true. Uk stations have statutory requirements on political balance. Clearly not the case with Faux News in the US.

    I think the point is by several posters above. This case shows the limits if free speech and freedom of speech when the rights of others are abridged by actual incitement to violence. If the law or something like pertained in the news then Faux News would be nowhere near incitement to violence but Phelps clan might.

  • David Ehrenstein

    “Freedom of Speech” is one of the biggest cons going.

    Speech is never free. It’s an act of Power. And it’s pretty obvious what’s going on when our enemies scream about “Freedom of Speech.” They want the freedom to say anthign they want about us — and we’re supposed to shut up and take it.

    The Brits are smarter than we are.

  • 1stamendment bull

    LOL @ don’t worry these Americans are just jealous that their country is so backwards in terms of queer emancipation!

  • dazzer

    @Brand: The sentencing of these men will take place on 19 February. They face a maximum of seven years imprisonment and unlimited fines.

  • Robert in NYC

    @Miriam: Speech calling for the burning or killing of gay people or any other minority crosses the line. Advocating, inciting others to go out and kill us does NOT get a free pass, not even in America. Try distributing leaflets calling for the assassination of a political figure and you’ll find the FBI knocking on your door and dragging your ass off to the authorities. Try shouting “fire” in a theater and see what happens to you. I’m all for freedom of speech just as the UK is, but when it is abused by calling for the death of someone, then that clearly is a crime. Freedom and freedom of speech come with responsibilities, abuse it and you suffer the consequences and clearly, these mens’ actions brought them to wear they are now. Why is that so hard to understand?

  • Carl

    @EdWoody: Well, they did check earlier leaflets with the police, that is true. But the one’s that they were prosecuted for distributing they created after consulting the police, so those ones were never seen. Hence the prosecution.

  • R.A.

    This shows why Republicans fear this kind of law – they could be jailed for inciting hatred of gays, blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, Mormons, scientists, journalists, Buddhists, atheists, unions, census takers, France, Massachusetts…

  • B

    No. 23 · vozhak wrote,”wow the level of nationalistic moralising is rife on this thread. You think your precious first amendment is so perfect yet you fail to see how it privileges the established religious order over everyone …”

    Let me refer you to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_religion_in_the_United_States#Colonial_precedent – “As of 2007, seven states have language included in their constitutions that requires state office-holders to have particular religious beliefs. These states are Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.[8] Some of these beliefs (or oaths) were historically required of jurors and witnesses in court. Even though they are still on the books, these provisions have been rendered unenforceable by U.S. Supreme Court decisions.”

  • Queer Supremacist

    The First Amendment is the reason we need the Second Amendment.

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