Thursday, 16 February 2012

UK Hate Crime Legislation

I’m not that great when it comes to understanding law. However I was reading about a recent case in the UK that included the distribution of gay hate leaflets and I wanted to share it with you.

Ihjaz Ali, 42, Kabir Ahmed, 28 and Razwan Javed, 28, were distributing gay hate leaflets outside a mosque and posting them through letterboxes in the Normanton area of Derby. The leaflet had the title of ‘Turn or Burn’ or Gay - an acronym for ‘God Abhors You’ and pictured a burning man in a lake of fire.

Gay people who received the leaflets were horrified. One man, who didn't want to be named, told Sky News: "They incite violence and I would even say it's incitement to murder. It lists various methods of executing homosexuals from burning alive, stoning, hanging or being thrown from a tall buidling and I felt that was directed at me. My initial thoughts were that I was actually being targeted by an individual, it really was quite frightening, it's a very very scary image, especially when you realise what the message is," he said.

Of course the leaflets created quite a stir in the local community and thankfully the responsible people were arrested and trialled. Ali was sentenced to two years in prison at Derby Crown Court, while Ahmed and Javed were jailed for 15 months.

In that landmark case last month, the trio was the first people to be convicted of inciting hatred on the grounds of sexuality since new legislation came into force in 2010. According to that, hate crime legislation is extended to cover "hatred against a group of persons defined by reference to sexual orientation (whether towards persons of the same sex, the opposite sex or both)."

However, to prevent the Act being used to inhibit freedom of speech on the subject of homosexuality there is a new section entitled "Protection of freedom of expression (sexual orientation)". I’m not going to go too much into detail about it.

The way it was explained to me, a third person can now act and denounce doings that he or she believes are acts of hatred towards people with different sexual orientation. I think that up till now, it was only the person targeted that was able to go to police and press charges. This ‘hole’ in the previous legislation was of course exploited by various people. Hopefully this case will act as a basis for better justice to be enforced.


  1. @Ur-Spo It was, but I am glad that the new legislation's now in force