From The Telegraph U.K.
Muslim fanatic fined £100 for ‘gay free zone’ stickers.
A Muslim fanatic who posted homophobic stickers declaring London’s East End a “gay free zone” has been fined £100.
1:18PM BST 01 Jun 2011
Mohammed Hasnath, 18, posted stickers warning gays that homosexuality was wrong and that “Allah is severe in punishment”.
The stickers showed a rainbow flag with a black line through it stating “Gay free zone”.
They caused outrage among the community, with one Jewish resident said it reminded him of Nazi signs his mother had faced in the 30s declaring an area a “Jew free zone”.
Others said it made them fearful for their safety.
Hasnath, who is on benefits, admitted putting up a handful of the notes but said he had been given them, and pointed out there were “hundreds” of similar offensive stickers in the area.
Darren Watts, prosecuting, said: “This is in relation to a series of homophobic stickers put up around the East End area in February.”
The stickers, which were posted at Bow Church DLR, on the inside of a bus, at a bus stop in Whitechapel and outside the Royal London Hospital, showed a rainbow flag with a black line through it.
Above the flag was printed “Arise and warn” and below it said “And fear Allah: Verily Allah is severe in punishment.” Both were followed by references to the English version of the Koran.
Mr Watts told Westminster Magistrates Court that Hasnath was arrested after he was spotted on CCTV putting up the sticker at Bow Church and confessed to police he had also been handing them out to young Muslim men in the area.
“He said this was because in the Koran it was forbidden for any person to be a homosexual and as a practising Muslim it was against his religion,” Mr Watts said.
“These stickers have deeply upset many of the community in and around the area.”
In a statement read to the court Jack Gilbert, a board member of the Sandy Row Synagogue and co chair of the Rainbow Hamlets community forum, said: “For me I read this no differently from a sign that said ‘Jew free zone’.
“When I see that sticker I see the signs my mother saw in the 1930s which actually carried less suggestion of punishment.
“For me I perceived an immediate threat of violence and had to make an instant risk assessment to my personal safety.”
A retired resident in the local area made a statement saying: “I was deeply shocked and decided to remove it as it immediately struck me as deeply offensive contained a implied threat of violence.”
The statement of a police officer working in the East End read to the court added: “I felt upset and offended. It made me feel I shouldn’t be working in the area and it should be a gay free zone.
“As far as I am concerned I should feel free and at peace to work in my community.”
When told the allegation against him of a public order offence of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour between February 11 and 14 Hasnath said: “But I just put up stickers, I didn’t harass or swear at anybody or anything.”
Hasnath, who was representing himself, pleaded guilty to the offence.
When asked by District Judge Jeremy Coleman what he had to say for himself Hasnath said: “Basically, some people just handed them to me so I just put them up. I didn’t say anything, it doesn’t say that I am going to punish them it just says what God says in the Koran.
“I wasn’t the one who made them, some people gave them to me and I only put up a few, there were hundreds of them up. I didn’t know the police were going to get involved or that it was a offence or anything.”
Hasnath, who lives with his family in Tower Hamlets and survives on job seekers allowance, was fined £100, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. The offence could not carry a custodial sentence.
District Judge Coleman said: “I think you used these stickers deliberately to offend and distress people, you certainly succeeded in doing that.
“You have upset people and they deserve an apology, you are not entitled to behave in this way.”
The court heard that Hasnath is on bail for allegedly defacing a women’s fashion advertising board.