Dozens of veiled women gathered outside the Old Bailey to protest against the jail sentences given to four Muslim men for encouraging terrorism.
Mizanur Rahman, 24, Umran Javed, 27, and Abdul Muhid, 25, were each jailed for six years for inciting murder and racial hatred during a demonstration against cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. [Here are the cartoons that — like so many other things — inspire many Muslims to acts of terrorism] – RNB
A fourth man, 32-year-old Abdul Saleem, was cleared of soliciting murder but convicted of inciting racial hatred. He was jailed for four years.
Photo from Evening Standard
Rahman had called for British soldiers to come home from Iraq in body bags, and Muhid chanted: “Bomb, bomb the UK”.
Outside the court, around 40 demonstrators – most hiding their faces – chanted and held placards.
Among them were a gaggle of women in burkas, who held up a sign which read: “British police go to hell”.
Police officers stood by as the group were kept behind barriers across the road.
Judge Brian Barker, the Common Serjeant of London, told the four men their words had been designed to encourage murder and terrorism.
He told them: “No one is entitled to make perverted use of ideology to propagate destruction and death.”
The judge said the protest in February 2006 had been “threatening, hateful and uncompromising” and the four men had “whipped up a frenzy” and gone far beyond what was “acceptable and legal”.
The four were arrested after 300 protesters marched to the Danish Embassy in central London over a cartoon which they said was offensive to Islam.
The drawing, which depicted the Prophet Mohammed wearing a headdress shaped like a bomb, was one of several printed in a Danish newspaper.
It caused outrage in the Islamic world where images of Mohammed are forbidden.
Rahman, 24, of Palmers Green, North London, chanted to the crowd: “Oh Allah, we want to see another 9/11 in Iraq, another 9/11 in Denmark, another 9/11 in Spain, in France, all over Europe.”
Javed, from Birmingham, was recorded on video by the police shouting: “Bomb, bomb Denmark. Bomb, bomb U.S.A.” Muhid, of Whitechapel, East London, led a crowd in chanting “Bomb, bomb the UK”.
Saleem, of Poplar, East London, was heard to chant: “UK you will pay, 7/7 on its way” and “Europe you will pay with your blood”.
Judge Barker told the defendants they had subjected London’s multi-national citizens to a “barrage of hatred and intolerance, just months after the July 7 outrage”.
He added: “Freedoms of speech and assembly have long been jealously guarded by our laws.
“With freedom comes respect and responsibility – none of which was demonstrated by you.
“What you were part of was the complete opposite of peaceful protest.”