Court Silences Muslim Thugs in the UK

In British law they have something called an Anti-Social Behavior Order (ASBO), which is kind of like a disorderly conduct charge in the US in that it’s relatively vague and can be applied to a lot of situations. But here’s a situation where it sounds like it was correctly applied to a bunch of Muslim thugs who like to harass and assault people.

Three religious vigilantes who terrorised innocent members of the public as the self-styled ‘Muslim Patrol’ have been banned from promoting Sharia Law in Britain.

Jordan Horner, 20, Royal Barnes, 23, and Ricardo MacFarlane, 26, were jailed for a total of two years and ten months for touring East London harassing people they deemed to be ‘non-believers’.

The three men were today also slapped with a five-year Asbo banning them from distributing material about Sharia Law to the public, or even meeting each other.

The trio are also banned from associating with controversial preacher Anjem Choudary.

Judge Timothy Pontius admitted the order was ‘drastic’ but added: ‘With the public interest in mind and the safety of individual members of the public in particular, it seems to me essential that these orders should be granted to run for that period of time.’

The leader of the gang, white Muslim convert Horner, who has declared he wants Sharia law in the UK, attacked people drinking in the street and demanded: ‘Remove yourselves now. Muslim Patrol.’

Some of the things these guys did are really appalling.

The religious vigilante group’s activities were exposed in YouTube where they denigrated women as ‘slags’ and used a megaphone to scream ‘kill the non-believers’ at innocent bystanders.

Two victims, Joshua Bilton and Anna Reddiford, were told to stop holding hands by Horner and Barnes as they walked down the street in Bethnal Green, East London.

Horner yelled through a megaphone: ‘Let go of each other’s hands. This is a Muslim area!’

In a second incident, on January 6 last year Horner and MacFarlane attacked a group of men drinking in the streets of Shoreditch, east London.

They screamed ‘kill the non-believers’ as Horner punched James Forward in the jaw and knocked out Patrick Kavanagh with a sucker punch to the head.

A week later on January 13 Horner and Barnes confronted another couple, Clare Coyle and Robert Gray, walking in the street in Stepney, east London.

The 23 year-old accused Miss Coyle of dressing inappropriately in a Muslim area and that she would be punished in ‘hell fire’.

Horner then started filming the event on his mobile phone and branded Clare Coyle a ‘slag’, to which she countered: ‘This is Great Britain. I can dress how I wish.’

In the video, which was later uploaded on to YouTube, the group can be heard shouting: ‘You need to control this area and forbid people from exposing themselves outside the mosque.

‘Remove yourselves now. Muslim Patrol. Move away from the mosque. Don’t come back. We don’t respect those who disrespect God.’

Theocratic thugs cannot be allowed to harass and intimidate others, regardless of their religion.

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    How do you reconcile applauding the removal of the right to speak and the right to free association with your usual stance towards those freedoms?

    Don’t get me wrong. What these bozos did was horrible and I agree that they need to be stopped, but I’m more than a little bit uncomfortable with what amounts to a hate speech prosecution. Where is the line, where “harass and intimidate” goes from free speech to something that warrants jail time?

  • John Pieret

    The pysical attacks are clearly beyond the pale but simply shouting at people you disagree with? What about that Muslim fair where the Dearborn police arrested Christians for simply setting up and loudly procaiming their beliefs? You were against the police action there. Is the difference merely that they used derogatory epithets? What about KKK or neoNazi or, for that matter, Black Panthers demonstrations?

  • A Hermit

    Free speech is not limitless. I think once you start infringing on other people’s right to walk down a street without fearing assault and Inciting violence you’ve clearly crossed the line. (“kill the unbeliever”)

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Horner then started filming the event on his mobile phone

    This seems to be happening more often, and I do not understand the thought process.

    “I’m breaking the law. I think I will create video evidence of that fact.”

  • Dunc

    Where is the line, where “harass and intimidate” goes from free speech to something that warrants jail time?

    In UK law, that line is where a “reasonable person” would feel in immediate danger of attack.

    There is a big difference between somebody standing on a street corner proclaiming their beliefs, and directly harassing specific individuals with threats of violence (either explicit or implied).

  • busterggi

    Appropriate to use in this case? Maybe.

    But ‘disturbing the peace’ is still mostly used to harass people that can’t be charged with committing any real crime.

  • John Pieret

    A Hermit:

    I think once you start infringing on other people’s right to walk down a street without fearing assault and Inciting violence you’ve clearly crossed the line. (“kill the unbeliever”)

    Yes, shouting “kill the unbeliever” is incitement to violence and can be made illegal but, at least as far as the bit quoted by Ed, it was part and parcel of the same incident where there was an also illegal violent act. The rest of the behavior may have made passersby uncomfortable but that’s not the same thing.

  • Olav

    Ed:

    In British law they have something called an Anti-Social Behavior Order (ASBO), which is kind of like a disorderly conduct charge in the US in that it’s relatively vague and can be applied to a lot of situations.

    An ASBO is a sort or “restraining order”, but with wider applications. It is also seen as a intermediate measure that falls somewhere between a mere warning and full criminal prosecution. I can see there is a place for such a legal instrument, but it is also true there are problems with it. Wikipedia has more.

    I am not sure it was properly applied in this case. Seems to me those harassers deserve the harder approach. On the other hand they are now under the looking glass of the authorities. They can’t really escape notice anymore.

  • Dunc

    The rest of the behavior may have made passersby uncomfortable but that’s not the same thing.

    They’re not “passersby”, they’re targets. They were yelling implicit threats at specific individuals through a megaphone, not making generalised statements which “may have made passersby uncomfortable”.

  • John Pieret

    They were yelling implicit threats at specific individuals through a megaphone

    Just how can the law define implicit threats? Is it enough to say ‘I don’t like your beliefs’? Is it enough to say ‘I don’t like what you are doing’?

    Here in the US, people can protest outside abortion clinics and express their dislike of women getting abortions. We have enacted some laws to make the protesters keep their distance from the women seeking abortions (for the time being … they are under review in SCOTUS as we speak) but is simply targeting specific behavior really a threat, implicit or otherwise? Is the use of megaphone the difference?

  • NitricAcid

    You would think that the assault itself would have netted them more than two years.

  • Artor

    I’m uncomfortable with the judge flatly dismissing these guy’s rights to free speech & free association, which I know are not protected in Britain the way they are supposed to be here in the US. I’d much rather see public protests, like maybe a bikini carwash across the street from the mosque, and a much louder bullhorn to return fire. And just maybe, when the antisocial assholes step over the line, someone ready with a heavy smackdown to shove that bullhorn where the sun won’t shine.

  • dingojack

    John did you miss this?

    “In a second incident, on January 6 last year Horner and MacFarlane attacked a group of men drinking in the streets of Shoreditch, east London.

    They screamed ‘kill the non-believers’ as Horner punched James Forward in the jaw and knocked out Patrick Kavanagh with a sucker punch to the head*.”

    Not quite ‘implied threats’.

    Dingo

    ——–

    * Here, had his victim died, he might be looking at 20 to 25 years at Goulburn SuperMax, minimum.

  • seraphymcrash

    I’m not sure how UK law defines implicit threats, but they can be defined by what a reasonable observer would feel threatened by. The law does not need to have black and white definitions for everything, it needs to have a process for evaluating specific cases.

    I think yelling into a megaphone at a specific person is a pretty clear threat.

    I also think that while the sorts of laws that were used to prosecute these criminals are ripe for abuse, I don’t think they were abused here. The restriction on associating with one person is not a blanket restriction on free assembly. It’s breaking a pattern of behavior that resulted in assault and violence.

    The issue here isn’t loudly proclaiming beliefs, its harrassment of specific individuals in a public area, threatening specific individuals in a public area, and assault in a public area. All of these are clear crimes in the same general pattern, and they deserve a harsher judgement when viewed together.

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    I really dislike the “reasonable observer” and “reasonable person” terminology, although they are enshrined in the legal systems of both the US and the UK. They simply beg the question of what is “reasonable.” I’m sure judge Roy Moore thinks that he’s reasonable, as do both Tom and Tony Perkins. We’re all reasonable people here, yet there’s a fundamental difference in our opinions on this particular case.

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    But what about freeze peach?!

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    In the video, which was later uploaded on to YouTube, the group can be heard shouting: ‘You need to control this area and forbid people from exposing themselves outside the mosque.

    They react even worse when you expose yourself inside the mosque. Or so I’ve heard.

  • John Pieret

    Dingo @ 13:

    John did you miss this?

    No, I explicitly said that the physical attack was beyond the pale @ 2 and noted the illegality of incitement to violence @ 7. They could and should have been punished under US law for those. I then went on to question whether any of their other actions, as related above, would fall under our free speech jurisprudence that Ed has supported many times before.

    Dunc @ 9 then said of that other behavior:

    They’re not “passersby”, they’re targets. They were yelling implicit threats at specific individuals …

    That’s what I was responding to.

  • brucegee1962

    It seems to me that standing on a street corner and yelling “Women should cover themselves up” should be allowable (though repugnant).

    The line would be crossed when they start saying “You (referring to a specific woman) should cover yourself up” or “you are a slag.” That seems as if it could reasonably be interpreted as a threat, and has no place in the public sphere. The difference between the two utterances seems clear enough to represent an enforcable legal standard.

  • matty1

    A few points.

    I’m completely comfortable with a ban on shouting threats and meeting each other, though I wouldn’t put in ‘distributing material’. It could be read as a ban on things like passively leaving leaflets on a table in the mosque, which not only has implications for freedom of expression but is unrelated to the offences.

    My problem with ASBO’s is that as I understand it they are civil orders, but breach of them carries criminal punishment. This can lead to people ending up in jail who would not have done if brought to a criminal trial and conversely in cases like this to people who should be in jail for assault not going, perhaps because it takes less time and work to get an ASBO than to prosecute a criminal case.

    There is a right to free speech in UK law, it is covered by the Human Rights Act, which incorporates the right from the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic law. It isn’t unlimited but unlike the US constitution the Convention states up front what limits are permissible.

  • http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com Gretchen

    Sounds to me like the ASBOs here are functioning like parole conditions. Do you guys believe those are violations of a person’s freedom of speech and association?

    Freedom of speech does not protect your right to scream at individuals walking down the street through a megaphone. It does not protect your right to threaten them. It sure as hell does not protect your right to physically attack them.

    Sorry, you do not have the right to declare that people in a section of town obey your religion and harass them if they don’t. And that is not a violation of your freedoms.

  • seraphymcrash

    Artk @ 15

    There is fair amount of ink spent explaining what a reasonable observer actually is:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reasonable_observer

    Really though, at some point a court of law has to make judgements, that’s their purpose. Trying to create black and white standards for every possible situation is obviously impossible, and typically, more complicated rules and standards just end up as tools for prosecutors or defense attorneys to circumvent the actual spirit of the law. They also make it extremely difficult to actually know what the law is.

    We need more common sense and actual judgement applied, not less.

  • matty1

    I clearly cannot read, please ignore the second paragraph of my last comment. These guys were convicted and will serve time and in those circumstances it is perfectly right for the court to set post release restrictions that reduce the chance of re-offending.

    I let my dislike of ASBO’s in general cause me to comment without thinking enough.

  • Taz

    If you watch the video Horner himself made, they are clearly harassing people. They were convicted of crimes and these restrictions can be viewed as the terms of their probation. In the US free association is often restricted as part of probation.

  • eric

    I’m not sure why we need to defend the ASBO or disorderly conduct abuse here, they are clearly not necessary to reach the appropriate judicial conclusion. These folks assaulted people – there’s your jailable offense. Use of the bullhorn would break content-neutral noise ordinances and is a perfectly legimitate reason for a civil fine or community service. And while speaking their mind should not be a crime, harassment charges can also be adjudicated in court, in front of a jury, without any use of ASBOs or disorderly conduct charges.

  • eric

    Gretchen:

    Sounds to me like the ASBOs here are functioning like parole conditions. Do you guys believe those are violations of a person’s freedom of speech and association?

    Some could be, some won’t be. Applying the US-typical time, place, and manner concept, I’d say that if a parole condition forced them to not speak about their religious views, that would be a violation. If a parole condition is that they not do it with a bullhorn not so much.

    But in general, I dislike parole conditions. In the US they often leave felons with an inability to live a normal life, which exacerbates their chance of recidivism rather than doing what parole should do, which is reduce it.

  • cry4turtles

    I’m guessing their sentences are quite mild compared to what could’ve happened had they yelled in the wrong guy’s face or insulted the wife of a street fighter. Perhaps they should count their blessings.

  • freehand

    ArtK: I really dislike the “reasonable observer” and “reasonable person” terminology, although they are enshrined in the legal systems of both the US and the UK. They simply beg the question of what is “reasonable.”

    .

    Concepts such as violence, harassment, vandalism, fraud, are necessarily foggy at some point; they are spectra of behavior. Analog, not digital. As much as you dislike it, there is no way to define behavior that accurately defines unacceptable behavior of this kind.

    .

    I disagree with a stranger when discussing politics.

    I raise my voice when arguing with a stranger about politics.

    I poke him in the chest with my finger while making a point.

    I poke her in the chest while making a point.

    I shout epithets “to make a point” while shaking my fist.

    As above, but I am physically robust.

    The stranger is small and frail, sitting in a chair, as I tower over him, shouting and red-faced.

    As above, plus I have a large knife in my belt.

    As above, followed by my pulling a weapon and chasing him about the room.

    .

    Are you incapable of imagining a spectrum of scary and anti-social, from trivial to undeniable?

    That third listing above, in fact, has gone to court here in Washington State, where third degree assault is defined as “touching someone in a way that a reasonable person would consider objectionable”. Juries can easily rule one way or another.

    .

    And yes, crimes like “disturbing the peace” are for those times when behavior is not otherwise specified, but is still unacceptable. These standards change over time.

  • leonardschneider

    Sheesh. Where’s a few football yobbos when you need ’em?

    Seriously, they were up in peoples’ faces the way they were, and not a single person told them to shut their fucking pie-holes and back off? I’ve said it before, I don’t pretend to be a tough guy, but you can’t interpret their behavior as anything other than a direct threat. I learned through experience to not ignore or shrug off a direct threat, but to get it out of your way with whatever means you have. (Hint one, learned from fighting against the Nazi skins in the Bay Area: wrap your jacket around your left arm. You now have a good block against anything sharp or solid; the Nazi skins had a thing for chains. Obviously if you’re a lefty, wrap your right arm.) And sure, there’s three of them, but this isn’t a John Wayne movie. Fuck fighting clean, you injure the one closest to you and move on to the next. Even if you come out on the losing end — and I have, and shit howdy it hurts — at least you know the others got some heavy marks as well, maybe even an ER visit. Who knows? Maybe it might pop into their pointy lil’ heads that gosh and golly, look where our current tactics got us. Perhaps we should reconsider our behavior.

    It’s not that likely though: you’re dealing with zealots. With the Nazi skins, there is no doubt in my mind they fully believed in the rightness of their cause. (Mostly. There were a few that just plain liked to fight, and what better way to get in a fight than wearing Nazi insignia?) There was no compromise or middle ground— okay, there never could be, they were fuckin’ Nazis. These creepy assholes in east London were kinda cut from the same nut-bar cloth: so convinced of their rightness (and righteousness) that any scumbag behavior they engaged in was pardoned. After all, they were representing Allah.

    (With a bit of luck, they’ll do what the Nazi skins did, which was bug out. In central East Bay — Berkeley, Oakland, Albany, Richmond — they couldn’t even go to a 7-11 without being in a pack of four or five; a single Nazi was a rare thing because of the threats he faced. Not just from punks, but from the ska-skins, B-boys, metalheads, whoever. They all began slowly migrating to Idaho, specifically Hayden Lake. Then the compound there got shut down, so who knows what happened to them. Lots probably ended up in prison for felony Being Stupid In Public.

    After they’re free of the British legal system, Horner, Barnes, and McFarlane could also pull a powder and immigrate (emigrate? I always mix up the two) to someplace they’re comfortable with extremist-minded dickheads, like Dubai, the UAE, or Saudi Arabia. The three hate women, alcohol, and anyone who doesn’t think like them. They’ll blend right in.)

    I keep drawing that parallel between the Nazi skins and the “Muslim Patrol” on purpose. Both groups were/are convinced in the rightness of their ways, and dangerous little shits, especially in a group. Yeah, violence won’t solve anything, et cetera. I think that’s a wonderful ideal. But there’s people in the world who cannot grasp anything unless they get bounced on the pavement a few times; the Muslim Patrol seems to fit that bill perfectly. Let the police handle it… Uh huh. How long were those puds out there threatening people before the cops did shit? Some things need to get cut off quickly, long before PD shows up. The Muslim Patrol needed to learn the same thing the Nazi skins finally did: you can show up, but it’s gonna hurt, and it’ll hurt every single time.

  • Emu Sam

    You can shout through a bullhorn in a public square if everyone else can use the same location. I think the point where it touches my nose is if you shout at me and I tell you to leave me alone or the equivalent, and you keep it up.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    @29:

    I was thinking that as a condition of parole they go to various soccer venues and wear the visiting teams opposing colors, sit in the “home” section and berate the spectators.

  • davem

    2 years ago, I had ‘neighbours from hell’ next door, When they weren’t having loud drunken parties with all of the friends, they argued all night, to the point of her screaming. I was constantly woken up at 3,4 or 5am for several months. I called the police emergency line 5 times. Other neigbours called even more often.

    Several times, he used physical violence on her, and she finally had him charged. . It wasn’t until this point that the police were really interested, and had powers to do something about it.. Until this time , we just had to suffer them. He got an ASBO, preventing him from seeing her, and we had peace again. God bless the ASBO.

  • iangould

    “The religious vigilante group’s activities were exposed in YouTube where they denigrated women as ‘slags’ and used a megaphone to scream ‘kill the non-believers’ at innocent bystanders”

    Funny when American Christians do much the same thing you defend it as an exercise of free speech.

  • diotima

    Dunc (post 5) has the law correct. In UK you don’t have to be struck to have been assaulted, you only have to be ‘put in immediate fear’ of being struck (or touched in a way that is unwelcome). Originally the offence was defined in the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 but has survived various amendments to criminal statutes since then, unchanged. There’s another statute (I’m speaking from memory here, don’t have access to the texts where I am right now) that also defines assault in a different way (typical UK law!).

    Under the OPA 1861 there’s an offence called battery, which is actually hitting someone, hence the two offences of threatening someone then following up by actually hitting them, being charged as ‘assault and battery’.

  • Nick Gotts

    john Pieret@2,

    What about that Muslim fair where the Dearborn police arrested Christians for simply setting up and loudly procaiming their beliefs? You were against the police action there.

    Yes, exactly the same comparison occurred to me.

    leonardschnieder@29,

    Seriously, they were up in peoples’ faces the way they were, and not a single person told them to shut their fucking pie-holes and back off?

    How do you think you know that? What makes you think every single occasion on which these bullies behaved in the way described came to court?

    I’ve said it before, I don’t pretend to be a tough guy

    Oh yes, you do. The rest of your screed is nothing but pretending to be a tough guy.

  • leonardschneider

    Nick,

    Damn, all that stuff went down, like 23 years ago. Half a lifetime. I should have said.

    I think we have totally different ideas about what a tough guy is. I’m talking about the sort of dude who takes a shot to the mouth, totally unblocked; he spits out a tooth, laughs at you, then wades into you so hard and so fast that you’re on the asphalt with your bell rung within fifteen seconds, no matter how hard you thought you were connecting back or blocking. Yeah, a serious tough guy can turn that sort of adrenaline on and off like a light switch, gets a kick out of a fight or brawl, and seems to have no working nerve endings in their body: they don’t feel pain. They can be nice enough people… But they’d also fight a fire truck, if they thought the truck had it in for them.* So no, I’m not a tough guy, or pretending to be one. Heh, too damn old now anyway even if I wanted to be.

    Sure I got into fights, but I never looked for them, it was always just response to a situation. And I got laid out just as often as I walked away. When you’re always on foot in East Bay, shit happens, be it rednecks in Pinole and El Sobrante or crackheads in different parts of Oakland, you’re not going to reason with them or explain how violence is morally wrong. You just had to wade in and hope you connected better and harder. Self-defense is all it was, I never got a kick out of it.

    The brawls against the Nazi skins were, admittedly, a different matter. They’d try to trash a show, or they’d throw a rally. It was— we were fighting fuckin’ Nazis, for chrissake. For better or worse, fighting against fascism was a very literal thing. And if this was back then, I’d hope you’d be right alongside, man.

    I figured nobody ever went after Allah’s Three Stooges because it never got written up in the news that I saw. You’d think “Horner, Barnes, and MacFarlane got the tar kicked out of them by angry passersby who’d grown sick of their bullshit” (well, not those exact words, but you know what I mean) would make the papers. That’s why I figured nobody’d ever gone after them.

    *The ones I knew did have a sense of, ah, fair play,, or personal dignity, or whatever you want to call it. Once they’d dropped a guy, that was it. They wouldn’t put in the boot, or hand-stomp, or anything like that: they’d call him a stupid asshole and walk off; there were no acts of cruelty. If the guy got back up and decided the fight wasn’t over, well, that was another matter… But odds are his friends and anyone around would be saying, “Dude, stay down!” and hold him back, to prevent any permanent damage. (Yep, some parties I went to back then could turn strange, real fast.)

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    leonardschneider, fifteen seconds? Pah! I can ring bells way faster than that. Chimes, too. And triangles. Once you get outside of non-drum percussion, though, I’m lost. I can’t strum, for instance, in any less than forty-five seconds. And the woodwinds are a complete mystery to me.

  • leonardschneider

    Modus, you’re a very silly man.

    I think I like you.

    Have you considered Hawaiian nose humming?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    leonardschneider, no. I’ve only got one nostril. It goes all the way across. Wax mustaches just fall right off.