Tuesday, 7 June 2011
A man stuffed ham into the shoes of Muslim worshippers at a mosque, a court was told.

Jamie Knowlson, 30, also draped slices of meaton railings outside the mosque as his victims prayed inside.


He was then caught on CCTV hurling abuse at worshippers after they confronted him over his s act.

Islam teaches its followers to avoid pig meat as it makes them impure and unclean.

Knowlson initially told police the stunt was a drunken joke but later admitted that he was fully aware of the offence his actions would cause.

He pleaded guilty to causing racially or religiously aggravated harassment and could have been jailed for up to two years.

But he walked free from Bristol Crown Court with a suspended six-month prison sentence because he had returned to the mosque to apologise for his actions.

What an absolute joke. He gets six months suspended, and it could have been two years for real, just for putting some ham in shoes and on mosque railings.

Sentencing, Her Honour Judge Carol Hagen said: ''It is difficult to imagine a more offensive incident.

Erm, no it isn't. Poppy Burning. Insulting dead soldiers as their coffins are passing.

''Not only the fixing of meat to railings but aggravated, in my view, that members of the mosque were inside praying at the time.''
The court heard that Knowlson, from Kingswood, Bristol, targeted the Al-Baseera mosque in the St Judes area of the city which is used by more than 2,000 Somali Muslims every week.

He crept to the mosque from nearby Redwood House homeless shelter on January 9 this year - putting ham in footwear and on railings outside the building as worshippers prayed.

David Hunter, prosecuting at Bristol Crown Court, said it had been a premeditated attack specifically targeted at the Muslim community.

Ian Halliday, defending, said: ''This was a brutal, misconceived, drunken prank. He returned to the mosque and offered his apologies in person.''

Brutal? Sticking ham on some railings and in some shoes is brutal?

Knowlson sat in tears as he was handed a six-month suspended sentence and 150 hours of unpaid work.

A second man is due to stand trial in connection with the incident later this month.

A poppy burner gets a £50 fine for a carefully prepared and calculated insult to an entire nation. A 'ham attacker' gets six months suspended and 150 hours of unpaid work for a spontaneous drunken prank that only a few dozen people knew about at best.

The law and the people who implement it are not treating all citizens equally; they are privileging the interests and the feelings of Muslims over the rest of the population. This unequal treatment is building up a store of bitterness which, sooner or later, is going to find a way to express itself.



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