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Man Charged After Pigs Head Left Outside Masjid

 
Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News – 2013-02-05
A 23 year old man has been warned he faces a possible jail sentence in connection with an incident where a pig’s head was left at a Muslim center in Leicester on Boxing Day.  The pig’s head was discovered by worshippers arriving at the entrance to the Community Centre on Thurncourt Road in Thurnby Lodge.

Liam Ferrar appeared at Leicester Magistrates' Court to admit religiously aggravated harassment aimed at the Muslim community. The court heard that Ferrar had acquired the pig's head at a wedding the previous summer and kept it in a freezer at his home in Brook Road, Thurnby Lodge, Leicester.
 
On Christmas night, December 25, he went to the Thurnby Lodge Community Centre, in Thurncourt Road, and placed the head by the locked doors, facing out towards the Muslim worshippers who arrived at the center the following morning.

Louise Cocks, prosecuting said that on Boxing Day morning, members of As Salaam arrived at the community centre to find the pig's head. Moulana Mohammed Lockhat, the Imam for the As Salaam group, decided to call the police, who went to remove the head.

Miss Cocks said Mr Lockhat said in his statement that the incident was "extremely distressing". "The pig is a creature Muslims are forbidden from using any part of," she said. Miss Cocks added: "He says that prior to the pig's head incident he received malicious communications in relation to pig's heads and blood."

Leicestershire Police said the man had been taken into custody and has been charged with religiously/racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress under Section 4 of the Crime and Disorder Act. Three other people, a woman age 40-years-old and two men aged 37 and 46, arrested earlier remain on police bail pending further investigations.

The Centre has recently become the focus of a row involving the British National Party and the As Salaam group who want to pray at a neighbouring disused Scout hut, which is owned by Leicester City Council.

In recent months, Muslims going to and from prayers at the venue have had to walk past angry protesters who don’t want the group to use the property. Around 200 people, including BNP members, attended a demonstration in August to oppose As Salaam group plans to use the hut. The protesters wanted the Scout hut to be kept for use by the wider community.

The court was told the protests had involved racial abuse being shouted by members of the Forgotten Estates campaign group, and other insults. Group member Ferrar, who at times acted as a liaison between the protest group and the police, was recognised by officers viewing CCTV footage. After being arrested on December 28, he "became tearful" and confessed, the court was told

Commenting on the incident, Superintendent Mark Newcombe, of Leicester Police, said: “The only people using the community center were from a local Muslim group and it’s easy to draw the conclusion that the pig’s head was meant for them, and is the reason we believe this to be religiously-motivated.”

A 23-year-old Muslim, who attends evening prayers every day at the center, said: “It’s a highly charged atmosphere at Thurnby Lodge at the moment and this was a very provocative act.

“Muslims are prohibited from eating pigs and whoever did this obviously knew that and were setting out to be offensive and make fun of something very serious to us.”

Ferrar has been required by a court order to live outside the area and has been staying with a relative in Leicester's West End. Steve Morris, representing Ferrar, made an application for his applicant to be allowed back onto the Thurnby Lodge estate, but the application was declined.
 
Ferrar is due back at Leicester Magistrates' Court February 18, for sentencing.

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