Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Courier reports on the outburst by the father of a young man sentenced this week for racially abusing restaurant staff at a Dundee takeaway.

Joel Justice, 25, was handed a community sentence with an order to carry out 135 hours of unpaid work and placed on supervision for two years after pleading guilty to acting in a racially aggravated manner intended to cause alarm and distress.

Justice had walked into the Curry Junction takeaway in Dundee earlier this year and called waiting staff “P****” and telling them to “go back to your own country.”

His father, John Justice, owner of Pillars bar in Dundee has lashed out at his son’s sentence on his Facebook page writing: “We should boycott everything to do with Islam and demand they condemn IS terrorism or we round them up and detain.”

Justice wrote, “It is because Muslims are now a protected species: they can blow us up, call for gays to be killed and treat women like s**t,” The Courier reports.

When approached by the paper about the comments posted on his page, Mr Justice said: “I don’t want my kids of grandkids growing up under Sharia law.

“I’m a 70s child and am liberal, but I feel liberalism is dying.

“It’s only recently this has happened. I have strong views on this.”

But local councillor for the Maryfield ward, Ken Lynn said he was “very angry” about the posts and said he would be contacting Dundee City Council’s licensing board about the matter.

He said: “For a publican to make these comments on a public forum is an utter disgrace.

“Groups like Taught By Muhammad and the Yousuf Youth Initiative do a hell of a lot of good in Dundee.

“I’m not going to ignore this. I’ll be contacting the licensing board about this.”

The Huddersfield Examiner reports on the reaction of the chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, Nick Smart, to the conditional discharge sentence imposed on a man found guilty of racially abusing a female police officer.

John Moorhouse was handed a conditional discharge by Kirklees Magistrates Court this week after being convicted of racially aggravated disorderly behaviour.

Moorhouse called the female officer undertaking a curfew check “f****** P***” and demanded her badge number. The officer described the incident as the “worst she had ever experienced” in her 10 years as a police officer.

Moorhouse’s sentence, which the court explained derived from “some degree of provocation and disruption” caused by curfew checks was described by Smart as “an utter joke of a sentence.”

In a Facebook post relating to the court’s decision Smart wrote: “There is no deterrent with such a sentence and it undermines the whole issue of hate crime.”

“It would seem police officers doing their work diligently is an acceptable excuse to be a racist – and to be punished lightly.”

Smart called for a review of those sentenced for “physically and verbally attacking police officers.”

There have been recent cases where police officers responding to incidents have been subjected to racially aggravated verbal or physical abuse. These  include an officer who endured a “Ramadan rant” when he responded to a domestic disturbance call and a Muslim officer who was called a “terrorist” as he went about his duty apprehending a man after an incident at Blackburn railway station.

The manager of a Muslim takeaway in Dundee at the centre of a recent hate crime trial has said incidents of racist abuse had been “non-stop” following the Paris attacks in November 2015.

Mohammed Irfan Nazir, 21, manager of the Curry Junction takeaway shop spoke to the local paper, the Evening Telegraph, following the sentencing of Joel Justice at Dundee Sherriff Court this week.

Justice was handed a community sentence after pleading guilty to acting in a racially aggravated manner intended to cause alarm and distress. Justice had walked into the Curry Junction on 29 April to order food and racially abused the waiting staff, Rifa Nezir and Rehan Khan, telling them to “go back to your own country.”

Justice referred to the men as “P****” and told them “You treat your women like slaves.”

Mr Nazir told the local paper that he was happy with the outcome of the case saying “The important thing is that my staff feel safe at work, which is why I phoned the police at the time.”

“I’m glad I was there to sort it and happy that the court has dealt with it,” he added.

Mr Nazir said alcohol induced racist insults were common in the shop and that after the Paris attacks last November, such incidents had been “non-stop”.

He said, “Sometimes people are rude and aggressive.

“After the Paris attacks last year it was non-stop. People can be racist.

“Sometimes it’s because of alcohol and that’s a lot harder to judge. What the guy was saying was not necessarily what he believes.”

Police Scotland reported a spike in Islamophobic incidents after the massacre in Paris on 13 November with 64 racial and religious hate crimes reported one week on from the Paris attacks.

The Huddersfield Examiner reports on the court appearance of a man guilty of several racially aggravated offences in a long running dispute with a local Muslim resident.

Jamie Hardisty, 25, pleaded guilty to two charges of racially-aggravated threatening behaviour and one offence of racially-aggravated criminal damage.

Kirklees magistrates court heard that on May 31 Hardisty approached Tariq Malik as he was returning home with his partner and called him a “dirty black b*****d.”

Hardisty used other racially abusive terms and when Malik entered his home, Hardisty kicked at his car, damaging the wing mirror saying “This is my turf, I’ll burn the house down you P***.”

In another incident on 3 July, Malik was getting into his car after a football match when Hardisty “drove past and swore at him, before reversing his vehicle and returning towards Mr Malik leaving him fearful,” prosecutor Alex Bozman told the court.

The court heard that “issues” between the two men had been going on for some time and had escalated in recent months.

Kirklees magistrates adjourned sentencing for full reports to be prepared. Mr Hardisty was ordered by the court not to contact Mr Malik.

The Loughborough Echo reports on an investigation by UKIP into a Facebook account where a number of anti-Muslim posts have been added under the name of the party’s councillor on Shepshed Town council, Timothy Paul Hicks.

The local paper reports that a Facebook account belonging to someone named Tim Paul Hicks featured a number of posts and images which made derogatory references to Muslims between Sunday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 20.

The local paper has chosen not to reproduce the images or print full details of the posts because they are “too offensive” but describes some of the posts found on the page. They include images of “a dog wearing a towel as a veil, a hand grenade, and a tiara over the top of a full veil, all of which included tasteless captions aimed at the Muslim faith.”

The Facebook page profile states that the account holder “works as a UKIP town councillor, lives in Shepshed and is: “An outspoken individual who dislikes Political Correctness as it was invented by a RETARD.”

The page also features “other non-controversial shares and photos of Councillor Tim Hicks on UKIP surgery duty which have been shared by Charnwood UKIP Facebook page.”

The paper contacted Cllr Tim Hicks about the page and the material found on it on Monday 25 July at 5.23pm. The councillor responded with “no comment” and the page itself was deleted at 6.26pm the same evening.

The paper reports that it has photographic copies of the posts which appeared on the page and which are now under investigation by UKIP’s Charnwood branch.

Chairman for the Charnwood and Loughborough branch of UKIP, Dr Andy McWilliam, said it was the first time the material had been brought to his attention and that he would have to examine the claims.

“I have tried to search for the posts but can no longer seem to find them”, he said.

“Any abusive or racist comments are not something that we accept at any level within our party and certainly not from someone in the position of Mr Hicks.

“We will need to examine and investigate the claim and any breaching of the rules will be dealt with in line with the party rules, and we are second to none in dealing with any abusive or racial comment accordingly,” he added.

It is not clear if the material has been brought to the attention of Shepshed Town Council too and whether there is any related investigation into a possible breach of the council’s equality and diversity policy.

The Huddersfield Examiner reports on the sentencing of a man who racially abused a female police officer who was carrying out a curfew check in line with her duties.

The local paper reports the unnamed female officer went to the home of John Moorhouse, 21, on 15 January 2016 to perform checks on a curfew order. Moorhouse at first refused to open the door and when he appeared he told her “F*** off f****g P**i, I want your badge number.”

The officer was left “shocked and distressed” by the abuse. The local paper notes that in her 10 years as an officer, she had been subjected to racial abuse throughout her career but that this incident “was the worst she’d experienced.”

The location of Moorhouse’s residence, in a multi ethnic area, raised concerns of the abuse being heard by the many Asian families and young children in the area.

Moorhouse was convicted of racially aggravated disorderly behaviour in abstentia and appeared before Kirklees magistrates’ court after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The court heard that Moorhouse and his brother had been on police bail for a long period of time and the frequent curfew checks, sometimes occurring three to four times a night, had contributed to the episode.

The court handed Moorhouse a 12 month conditional discharge saying there had “been some degree of provocation and disruption” which gave rise to the incident.

A man who racially abused two takeaway workers at a restaurant in Dundee said he was made to feel “white guilt” over the offence, The Courier and BBC News report.

Joel Justice, 25, was drunk when he walked into the Curry Junction shop late on 29 April to order food.

Justice asked two men working in the shop, Rifa Nezir and Rehan Khan, “Are you from Afghanistan” before telling them to “go back to your own country.”

He also told the pair, “You treat your women like slaves.”

Justice did not notice that staff had called the police following his abuse and when police arrived, they found Justice standing at the counter in the shop eating his food.

When asked by police officers about the reported abuse, Justice told them “I just told them p**** to go back to their own country.”

Justice continued to espouse racist comments while in police custody and later told social workers that he felt he was made to feel “white guilt” over the comments.

Justice pleaded guilty to acting in a racially aggravated manner intended to cause alarm and distress at Dundee Sheriff Court earlier this month.

Appearing before the court for sentencing, Sheriff Alastair Brown told him: “I recognise that you were drunk and you have an alcohol problem. But from the point of view of the person who suffers the abuse, that makes no difference.

“You were abusive in racist terms and if by ‘white guilt’ you mean a spurious feeling of responsibility for things that you had nothing to do with, you are wrong.

“You used foul and abusive language.”

Justice was handed a community sentence and ordered to carry out 135 hours of unpaid work and placed on supervision for two years.

The news website Somerset Live and the Independent report on an attack on the Yeovil Islamic Centre after a report of rocks being thrown through its windows.

The incident happened sometime between 11.30pm on Friday, July 15 and 1.30am on Saturday, July 16, according to the local paper.

Avon and Somerset police have issued a public appeal seeking information and witnesses to the alleged attack.

A spokesperson for the force said officers were treating the incident as a case of “racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage”.

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting reference number 5216156358.

News of the incident comes as the National Police Chiefs Council release further data on the increase in police recorded hate crime around the date of the EU referendum. The NPCC revealed there were 3,192 alleged hate crimes reported between 16-30 June this year, in the week preceding and immediately after the EU referendum, and a further 3,001 reports between 1 and 14 July. The figures breakdown to an equivalent of more than 200 incidents every day over the four week period.

There was some commentary at the weekend about the Munich atrocity and recent incidents of indiscriminate violence which reveal both the best and worst of UK media coverage of acts of ‘terrorism’.

In the Mirror, Kaye Adams, took aim at the former editor of The Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie’s lamentable provocation against journalist Fatima Manji for just doing her job. Adams criticises his taking exception to Manji’s reporting on the attack in Nice while wearing her headscarf as an example of the “toxic cauldron of irrational hatred” which permeates kneejerk reactions.

Noting the media’s tendency to hunt for a headline, Adams cautions against rushing to blame all Muslims for the Munich atrocity amid news of a kidnap plot at the RAF base at Marham in Norfolk.

Adams wrote: “It would be naive to deny that a radical and corrupt form of Islam, or a reaction to it, does seem to be the common denominator.

“But to start pointing the finger at all Muslims is as sensible as pointing out most rapists are men.”

Her words of necessary caution, to avoid stirring prejudice against Muslim communities, were ignored by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who was criticised for leaping to a default position and blaming the Munich attack on “global phenomenon and a global sickness that we have to tackle both at the source – in the areas where the cancer is being incubated in the Middle East – and also of course around the world.”

But Johnson’s words seem mild in comparison to the venom espoused in Rod Liddle’s column in the Sunday Times yesterday. Showing little regard for facts or indeed, caution when reporting on incidents where information is still coming to light and the full picture unknown, Liddle launches into a tirade about the “collective delusion” of liberals who fail to label “murderous Islamism” as the enemy in our midst.

Liddle writes, “They yearn for this relentless cavalcade of murders and maimings to be entirely unconnected to either Islamism or the catastrophic policy of allowing in, unchecked, hundreds of thousands of usually culturally averse people from beyond the Continent. And, indeed, the equally problematic multiculturalism to which the European liberal elite still clings.

“So, for example, an armed Muslim bloke murders at least 84 people in Nice by mowing them down with a lorry. We — you, me, ordinary people — knew he was an Islamist long before the broadcast media were inclined to accept the fact. And further, assumed that was why the murders had been committed. The liberal elite here and abroad begged to differ, however.”

Quite why “you, me, ordinary people” would regard Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel an “Islamist” when his relatives described him as someone “who drank alcohol, ate pork and took drugs” is not clear. Perhaps the “collective delusion” Liddle prefers to identify elsewhere has descended closer to home?

He goes on, “Whenever this sort of thing happens liberals suddenly become Koranic experts and insist that it can have had no religious connection. And yet very often it patently does.

“Just as the teenager who started hacking at people with an axe on a German train was also motivated by Islam. He may have been deranged but he was also a fervent Muslim and that is why he started trying to decapitate infidels.”

Might we also infer from Breivik’s manifesto and his references to Christianity that he was a “fervent Christian” even if “deranged”?

It seems Liddle is unconcerned about the purported motive for murder, in the case of the Afghan refugee and the Wuerzburg train attack “revenge” for the death of a friend killed in Afghanistan, preferring to privilege the description of the teenage refugee as a “devout Muslim” over all other possible explanatory factors.

It is precisely the presumption that Islam lies at the core of instincts to murder innocents that blinds us to the actual causes of extremist violence; politics, mental health, economic insecurity, and the types of extremism that stir in our societies. For a short while, the murder of Batley and Spen MP, Jo Cox, reminded us of the costs of discounting far right and other forms of extremism which fester and are responsible for the greater proportion of acts of political violence in Europe. It is a travesty that such an exercise in introspection should be so short lived and some commentators far too eager to return to a tired and false narrative that lays the blame for all of this at Islam’s door.

The Sunday Times yesterday printed a correction in relation to an article published on 6 March on prison imams and radicalisation.

The Sunday Times and The Times have published several articles over the last few months about a Ministry of Justice report written by a former Home Office official, Ian Acheson. The papers have trailed a number of allegations covered in the report on prison imams preaching “anti-Western values”, “encourag[ing] prisoners to raise funds for Islamic charities with links to international terrorism” and of prisoners being placed at “risk of radicalisation”.

Needless to say, the Ministry of Justice report which mentions all of this has yet to be published and its findings subjected to open scrutiny.

In the article published on 6 March in the ST, it stated:

“A government adviser on Islam faces having to leave his post after authorising the recruitment of about 140 prison imams who hold anti-British views.

“An independent review into the role of Ahtsham Ali, the Muslim adviser to the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), has found that he oversaw the appointment of prison imams who have studied Deobandi Islam, a hardline Sunni interpretation of Islamic scripture contrary to British values and human rights.”

The correction appearing in yesterday’s paper states:

“Our report “Jails adviser may lose job over hiring hardline imams” (News, March 6) should have stated that prison imams “are suspected of” holding anti-British values and attributed to “security sources and other critics” the description of Deobandi Islam as “contrary to British values and human rights”.”

The clarification first appeared on 17 March, when the article was amended online but the paper has gone further to issue a clarification in the print edition of the paper too correcting its misrepresentation of Deobandi imams as “hold[ing] anti-British views” and practising a “hardline Sunni interpretation of Islamic scripture contrary to British values and human rights.”

Suggestions that prisons are “incubators of terrorism” or “universities of terror” have been in the news recently following the raft of articles published by The Times and Sunday Times on the Acheson report. Assumptions of a link between prisons and radicalisation have been challenged by academics studying the role of prison chaplaincy in the UK and the role of religion in the lives of inmates. According to new research by Dr Ryan Williams, there is an intrinsic misunderstanding between the role of imams and Muslim inmates in UK prisons and political and policy rhetoric which portrays chaplaincy and religious devotion as inextricably linked to radicalisation.

The Times and Sunday Times have certainly perpetuated these misunderstandings with copious coverage blaming individuals hiring imams into the prison service and imams from Deobandi backgrounds in particular, for what David Cameron called the “new front” on tackling radicalisation.

In a speech on delivered on prison reform at Michael Gove’s former think tank, Policy Exchange, the then PM referred to prison reform policy and his determination to “consider major changes: from the imams we allow to preach in prison to changing the locations and methods for dealing with prisoners convicted of terrorism offences” as a means to do battle on this “new front”.

But as The Guardian noted, in coverage of Dr Ryan Williams study on imams, prisons and the ‘phenomenon of Emirs’, assumptions about prisons as “incubators of terrorism” are not supported by empirical evidence.

Moreover, Dr Williams argues that “a preoccupation with radicalisation is warping perceptions of prisoners’ behaviour and relationships.”

He said, “Within prisons, everyday Muslim practices of praying, reading the Qur’an, or even reading commentary from Muslim scholars about God’s creation and evolutionary theory can raise concerns over extremism.”

And while fears of radicalisation rate high, more fundamental issues of alienation, institutional Islamophobia and the high proportion of British Muslims in the prison population merits much less media or political attention. The omission reinforces the prison radicalisation narrative which features so prominently in press coverage and political speeches.