Wednesday, October 06, 2021
LONDON: Four British Muslim men from Blackburn, England, charged with anti-Semitism have entered not-guilty pleas, denying that they were involved in spreading racial hatred against the Jewish people.
The Crown Prosecutor told the judge at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court that Mohammed Iftikhar Hanif, 27; Jawaad Hussain, 24; Asif Ali, 25; and Adil Mota, 26, have been charged with raising anti-Semitic abuse from a convoy of cars in North London on May 16 this year when they travelled all the way from Blackburn to London as part of a pro-Palestine rally called “Convoy For Palestine”.
The prosecution said that the four men were involved in "issuing death threats and racial hatred towards the Jewish people" and for this purpose, they went to the Finchley area of London where a large Jewish community lives.
Of the four charged, three are of British Pakistani origin while Adil Mota is of Indian descent. All four of them have denied the charge and told the judge through their lawyers that they will contest the charges.
Adil Mota’s lawyer Ghafar Khan, who is a solicitor and high court advocate also from Blackburn, told the court that his client was part of the convoy that travelled through the Jewish community area in North London, including outside a prominent Jewish community centre, but didn’t take part in the threatening or abusive behaviour and was not involved as charged.
One of the defendants told this reporter that he was "falsely accused and will defend himself at the trial". He said he spoke for the rights of Palestine but would never ever insult people of other faiths.
The prosecutor told the court that the accused were heard and seen by members of the public as shouting extreme slogans likely to stir racial and religious hatred against the Jewish people. They waved flags, said the prosecutor, and directed abuse at the Jewish people and picked up the Finchley area only because it’s well known that lots of Jewish people live there.
The prosecutor also told the court that all four men have never been convicted previously, and are of good character. The court said that all four defendants would be discharged without bail conditions as they have no history of any wrongdoing. They are scheduled to appear before Woodgreen Crown Court on November 3.