'Gay people should get the death penalty’: Five Muslim men on trial for stirring up hatred after 'handing out homophobic leaflets near mosque'

  • One leaflet called The Death Penalty? showed image of mannequin hanging from a noose and said buggery led to hell, court hears
  • Jury told the 'horrible' leaflets were designed to stir up 'hatred and hostility against homosexual people'
  • Prosecution of the group is first of its kind since new laws were passed

By Anthony Bond

Last updated at 3:00 PM on 10th January 2012

A group of Muslim men handed a leaflet out to the public that called for homosexuals to be 'punished' and given the death sentence, a court has heard.

The five men gave out the pamphlet, called The Death Penalty?, which showed an image of a mannequin hanging from a noose and said buggery was a great sin leading to hell, the court wast told.

It also said that it used to be punished by hanging and that people practising and allowing homosexuality would suffer, the court was told.

Accused: Kabir Ahmed, left, and Umar Javed, right, are on trial along with three other men accused of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation

Ihjaz Ali, 42, Mehboob Hussain, 45, Umar Javed, 38, Razwan Javed, 27, and Kabir Ahmed, 28, are alleged to have handed out the document outside and near the Jamia Mosque in Derby, in July 2010.

They are also alleged to have put it through people's letterboxes in the neighbourhood.

All five men are accused of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation in the first prosecution of its kind since legislation came into force in March 2010.

Opening the prosecution's case at Derby Crown Court today, where the five men are on trial after denying all charges, prosecutor Bobbie Cheema said the case was an example of a hate crime.

She told the jury of seven men and five women: 'The essence of this case will come down to this - an allegation of a hate crime, that these five defendants were part of a small group of men who distributed horrible, threatening literature, with quotations from religious sources and with pictures on them, which were designed to stir up hatred and hostility against homosexual people.'

Miss Cheema showed the jury a series of three leaflets the men are said to have handed out, which included The Death Penalty? leaflet, and told them they would hear from witnesses who received them.

Facing trial: Mehboob Hussain, 45, arrives at court
Co-accused Razwan Javed, 28, keeps his head down as he heads into the court
In the dock: Ihjaz Ali, 42, is also on trial accused of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation

In the dock: Mehboob Hussain, left, Razwan Javed, and Ihjaz Ali, right, all arrive at Derby Crown Court

The two other leaflets were made and used as part of the campaign to publicise a counter-protest in response to the Gay Pride parade due to be held in Derby on July 10, 2010, she said.

She added: 'The leaflets you will see are not educational or simply informative, they are, we suggest, threatening, offensive, frightening and nasty.'

The Death Penalty? leaflet, which mentions execution and says it is the only way the immoral sin of homosexuality can be erased from society, was handed out to people outside the Jamia Mosque after Friday prayers on July 2, she said.

Miss Cheema said a police officer near the mosque at the time was handed a copy by Razwan Javed, who is Umar Javed's brother, and was then given a second leaflet by Kabir Ahmed in nearby Madeley Street.

Miss Cheema said this came after a previous two leaflets had been distributed to the people of Derby in the streets and through their letterboxes.

The first, called 'Turn or Burn', showed images of a burning lake of fire and an image of hell.

It stated that the decriminalisation of homosexuality was the root cause of all problems, she said.

The second leaflet used the word 'GAY' as an acronym for God Abhors You, and was distributed in the same way.

On trial: The five defendants are alleged to have handed out one homophobic document outside the Jamia Mosque in Derby

On trial: The five defendants are alleged to have handed out one homophobic document outside the Jamia Mosque in Derby

Miss Cheema said Ali first approached police a few weeks before the planned Gay Pride parade to talk about a counter-protest by members of the Muslim community and was advised that any placards, signs, flyers or speeches that were made should be carefully worded so as not to commit any criminal offences.

Many members of the public complained about the first two and on July 1 Ali met with police again and told them his group had been giving them out, Miss Cheema said.

He was advised that officers were investigating the leaflets to see if any criminal offences had been committed.

Ali is also said to have shown police an A4 page of slogans intended for use on placards, some had been crossed out by his solicitor, he said, and he asked police to check out the remaining ones.

Miss Cheema said they contained such things as 'Stay gay and you will pay' and 'Adam and Eve, not Steve'.

Ali's request for permission to counter the Gay Pride parade was eventually refused because he did not apply to the council with enough time.

Miss Cheema told jurors that Ali, of Derby, was charged with all four counts on the indictment because the prosecution say he was the person responsible for organising the distribution of the leaflets.

Miss Cheema also said a fourth leaflet, Dead Derby, was found but not distributed.

It described homosexuality as a 'vile, ugly, cancerous disease' and asked the question 'Gay today, paedophile tomorrow?'

Miss Cheema told the jury that it was just The Death Penalty? leaflet upon which the charges were based.

She said: 'You will have to assess quite how much Mr Ali wanted to carry out a lawful and legal protest and quite how much of what he wanted was a shield he could hide behind from the consequences of what he really hoped to achieve.'

The panel heard that the charges levelled against the five men involve offences said to have taken place on July 2 and July 4, 2010.

They are all charged with distributing threatening written material intending to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation contrary to Section 29C (1) of the Public Order Act 1986.

Ali faces four charges, while Hussain, of Normanton, and Umar Javed, of  Derby, are charged with two counts each.

Razwan Javed, and Kabir Ahmed, both of Derby, are charged with one count each.

Miss Cheema said each defendant admitted playing a part in the distribution of the leaflets but said they would probably each put forward various lines of defence.

In a police interview Ahmed said he did not feel that the views expressed in The Death Penalty? leaflet - which suggested three different ways to murder homosexuals - were wrong and simply expressed what Islam says about homosexuality and it was his duty as a Muslim to condemn it.

Razwan Javed, Miss Cheema said, also admitted distributing the leaflets but said it was only to raise awareness about what Islam says about homosexuality and not to frighten or threaten anyone.

Miss Cheema added: 'A word of warning: this case is not about, and we must not make it about, an interference with the defendants' freedom of religion or freedom to express their religious views in an attempt to educate or inform people.

'The vast majority of Muslims, and indeed other religious people, or people with no religion but who have strong views about homosexuality, are able to express their views if they wish in a critical but lawful, moderate and self-controlled way. That's one of the rights we have.'

The case continues.