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Issue 121 - December 2011 - Page 27

Protest Message - Prison Sentence for Spray Painting Poppy on Mosque

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Outline
Social media driven protest message cites the apparent unfair disparity in sentences handed out to a Muslim man who defaced a war memorial, another Muslim who burned a poppy at a Remembrance Day ceremony and two non-Muslim men who spray painted a poppy on a Mosque.



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Analysis and references below example.



Last updated: 4th November 2011
First published: 4th November 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
IM DISGUSTED AT THIS COUNTRY!! In May 2010, Tohseef Shah spray painted a British War Memorial with "islam will dominate osama is coming" he was fined £50 & walked free from court. In November 2010, Emdadur Choudhury burned a Poppy during the 2mins silence. He too was given a £50 fine and walked free from court Today, 2 men have been sentenced to 12 months in prison for spray painting a Poppy on a mosque. Welcome to the Great British justice system. Disgusting.... Who's brave enough to Copy & Paste this and broadcast it? only those who think Great Britain is no longer in control will

Poppy Spayed on Mosque Protest




Analysis
This message, which is currently circulating vigorously via social media websites, political forums and email, protests against apparent inconsistencies regarding sentences handed down for religious or racially motivated vandalism offences. The protest message cites three separate cases; Firstly, the case of Muslim man Tohseef Shah, who spray painted a war memorial with the slogan "Islam will dominate osama is coming" and walked free with just a fine. Secondly, the case of another Muslim, Emdadur Choudhury, who burned a poppy during the Remembrance Day Two Minutes Silence and also received only a fine. And thirdly, the case of two men who spray painted a poppy onto a Mosque but, rather than just a fine, received 12 months in prison. The message condemns the apparent disparity between these sentences and expresses disgust at the British justice system.

The cases described are real. (Tohseef Shah received a two-year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £500 compensation to the council along with £85 costs. He did not receive only a £50 fine as claimed in the above message). The cases caused considerable controversy and outrage in the UK with many people of the opinion that the sentences handed out to the Muslim men were too lenient while those given to the non-Muslims who painted the poppy on the Mosque were overly harsh in comparison.

Given the information outlined in the message, it is understandable that many feel irate about the outcome of these cases. However, there is more to the story that should be told. Steven James Vasey and Anthony Donald Smith, the two men sentenced to 12 months prison, did more than just spray poppies and political messages on the mosque. They also defaced a nearby store and guest house, both of which were owned by Asian businessmen. And an upstairs window on the store was smashed with a brick. Ironically, the store was reportedly selling Remembrance Day poppies at the time of the attack. Other evidence showed that the men had planned the attack beforehand.

Thus, the attack was considered to be racially motivated. The men admitted conspiracy to commit racially aggravated criminal damage and were sentenced accordingly. But, apparently, a lack of evidence and vagaries of the law meant that Tohseef Shah was not charged with committing a religious or racially motivated crime. It was instead decided that the man's actions were politically (as opposed to religiously) motivated and the Crown Prosecution Service thus convicted him of just criminal damage. Poppy burner, Emdadur Choudhur, was only charged with a public order offence although the judge who presided over the case has been castigated in the press for not handing down a stiffer penalty.

But, it could also be argued that the above protest message effectively cherry picks available cases as a means of creating the most impact. For example, if the message had compared the Shah and Choudhury cases with another case in which Sunderland man Ryan Austin sprayed racist grafitti on a Mosque, its power would have been considerably curtailed. As with Shah and Choudhur, Austin was not sent to prison. He received only a fine for his crime. And in two other cases in which pig heads were placed near the site of a proposed mosque - actions that could also be construed as religiously or racially motivated - those responsible again received fines and community service rather than a term in prison. And, at the time of writing, three teens had just been charged with incitement to hatred for allegedly burning a poppy and posting an image of the burning on Facebook.

Given the complexity of the legal system and the unique set of characteristics that define each and every case, drawing conclusions based on comparisons of sentences can be problematical.

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References
Muslim walks free as court told Osama bin Laden graffiti 'not religiously motivated' "
Fury at £50 fine for poppy burner who gets £800-a-month benefits
Racist-attacks pair are jailed for a year
Ex EDL members targeted Hartlepool mosque and Shotton Colliery store
Sunderland man sprayed racist graffiti on mosque as an attack on his Muslim father
Nottingham pig's head mosque race abuse men sentenced
‘POPPY BURNER’ TEENS IN COURT
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Issue 121 Start Menu

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. Bogus Warning - Scammers Asking for Baby Details to Claim Benefits in Your Children's Names
  2. False Claim - Cardiff City Football Club Refused to Donate Club Shirt for Fallen Soldier's Coffin
  3. Summer Chain Email - Blond Hair And Blood Shot Eyes
  4. Facebook Account Reported Phishing Scam
  5. Christmas Tree App Virus Hoax
  6. Sears Supports Reservist Employees Email Forward
  7. False Claim - Colour Photographs of Hitler Taken by American Life Photographer
  8. Budweiser Frogs Virus Hoax
  9. Phone Text Message Lottery Scams
  10. Skype TopUp Payment PayPal Phishing Scam
  11. Hoax - Mark Zuckerberg Blames Facebook Porn Attack on the Philippines
  12. 'DGTFX Virus' Email Account Phishing Scam
  13. Recent Facebook Porn Attack Highlights Dangers of Misleading 'Security' Warnings
  14. False - Send Christmas Cards for Recovering Soldiers to Queen Elizabeth Hospital
  15. Christmas Cards for Recovering American Soldiers
  16. Starbucks Coffee Free Gift Card Survey Scam
  17. Facebook 'Virus' Warning - 'Nobody can watch this for more than 15 seconds' Video
  18. Advance Fee Scam - British National Lottery Promo Programme
  19. Live Ants In The Brain Hoax
  20. Hoax - Albany Bread Poisoned by Staff
  21. PayPal 'Verify to Resolve Account Limitations' Phishing Scam
  22. Red Bull Car Adverts Money Laundering Scam
  23. Hoax - Facebook Shutting Down on March 15
  24. False Warning - Red Dot Inside a Red Square On Chocolate Bars Indicates That Product Contains A Pork Derivative
  25. IT Service Desk 'Scheduled Maintenance & Upgrade' Phishing Scam
  26. Abandoned Two Week Old Sydney Baby Prayer Request
  27. Protest Message - Prison Sentence for Spray Painting Poppy on Mosque
  28. Protest Message - Dog Named 'Parrot' Shot by Police
  29. Inaccurate Protest Message - Poundland and Bodyshop Banning Staff From Wearing Poppies
  30. Apple Store Account Phishing Scam