The Telegraph reports that Mohammed Hasnath has been fined £100 for posting “Gay Free Zone” stickers in Tower Hamlets:
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.
Here is Hasnath’s explanation for his conduct:
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.
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 is an extremist and a disgusting yob. What he did is on par with putting up a “Niggers Out” sticker. It is not only offensive: in the context of Tower Hamlets, where gays are in fact beaten up, it is a deliberate and direct threat. It certainly deserves a punishment.
Although some of you might believe that a more significant punishment than a small fine is warranted – and I would have preferred extensive community service – I’m not sure I agree. This is a stupid, nasty, and vicious young man. He’s an 18 year old who, one can fairly surmise, operates within an Islamist milieu, in which he will be applauded for his actions. No doubt, he feels proud of what he has done, and would do it again.
However, I don’t think that it would be proper to to punish this man as if he were the primary culprit behind this hate attack.
Here’s the thing. Hasnath is a foot soldier. There are loads of them – he most certainly won’t have been the only one putting up Gay Free Zone stickers. If you want to solve the problem of the promotion of homophobia, you won’t do it by picking off the “rank and file”, one by one. They won’t care – they’ll wear their “martyrdom” as a badge of pride.
Instead, you need to address the ring leaders: the hate preachers who promote homophobia, including teaching that gays should be executed in an Islamic State, and the institutions which host them. Chief amongst those institutions is the East London Mosque and the London Muslim Centre.
We know that the ELM/LMC has given a platform, again and again, to the most vile and outspoken hate preachers, who tell religious people that gays ought to be executed. We know that it hosted Abdul Karin Hattin’s “Spot the Fag” event:
Was Mohammed Hasnath in the audience?
As I’ve argued before, gays have a right to an apology from the East London Mosque for its role in the promotion of homophobia. I also think that the East London Mosque should make a public statement, banning by name those hate preachers who have appeared on their premises in the past, and who have made extreme homophobic statements. Finally, the East London Mosque needs to put in place a procedure by which public concerns as to the nature of the events that they continue to host can be brought to their attention, and resolved.
All this needs to be put in place. An end to the promotion of hatred against gays is something that every one of us has a right to expect. In particular, we should expect it from an institution like the East London Mosque – a cornerstone member of London Citizens – which receives millions of pounds of public money.
That will help to fight institutionalised homophobia in a more effective way than fining an 18 year old hoodlum.