Group accused of handing out anti-gay death sentence leaflets

From left-to-right: Mehboob Hussain, Razwan Javed, Umar Javed, Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed The five defendants were said to be trying to organise a protest against a gay pride parade

A group of men handed out a leaflet calling for homosexuals to be given the death sentence, a court has heard.

The five Muslim men from Derby are said to have distributed notices titled The Death Penalty? outside a mosque and put them through people's letterboxes.

The men deny stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The prosecution at Derby Crown Court called the literature, given out in the lead up to a gay pride event in 2010, as "frightening".

Ihjaz Ali, 42, Mehboob Hussain, 45, Umar Javed, 38, Razwan Javed, 27, and Kabir Ahmed, 28, have said the leaflets - which included quotations from religious sources - were designed to "raise awareness".

'Punished by hanging'

The court heard the leaflet was one of three distributed by the group as it tried to organise a protest against Derby's Gay Pride event in July 2010.

Start Quote

The leaflets you will see are not educational or simply informative, they are, we suggest, threatening, offensive, frightening and nasty.”

End Quote Bobbie Cheema Prosecutor

It showed an image of a mannequin hanging from a noose and said gay people were destined to go to hell

Prosecutor Bobbie Cheema said a copy was handed to a police officer near Jamia Mosque, on Rosehill Street in Derby, on 2 July 2010.

In the weeks before that, the group had distributed two other leaflets, called Turn Or Burn and God Abhors You.

One of them showed a lake of fire and said homosexuality was the root of all problems.

A fourth leaflet, called Dead Derby, which compared homosexuals to paedophiles was found, but not distributed.

'Threatening literature'

Mr Ali approached police a few weeks before the gay pride event to ask about a counter-protest by members of the Muslim community.

He was advised to be careful about the wording of signs and placards, the court heard.

He was eventually refused permission for the protest because he did not apply to the council with enough time.

Miss Cheema said: "These five defendants were part of a small group of men who distributed horrible, threatening literature, with quotations from religious sources and with pictures on them, which were designed to stir up hatred and hostility against homosexual people."

"You will have to assess quite how much Mr Ali wanted to carry out a lawful and legal protest and quite how much of what he wanted was a shield he could hide behind from the consequences of what he really hoped to achieve."

Mr Ali faces four charges, while Mehboob Hussain, of Rosehill Street, Normanton and Umar Javed, of Whittaker Street, Derby, are charged with two counts each.

Razwan Javed, of Wilfred Street, Derby and Kabir Ahmed, of Madeley Street, Derby, are charged with one count each.

The trial continues.

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