'Death penalty for gays' – five accused over leaflet campaign

Muslim men first to face trial under new hate laws for handing out anti-gay flyers near Derby mosque

A group of Muslim men handed out leaflets after Friday prayers at a Derby mosque demanding the death penalty for homosexuality, a court as heard.

Derby Crown Court was told that Ihjaz Ali, 42, Mehboob Hussain, 45, brothers Umar Javed, 38, and Razwan Javed, 27, and Kabir Ahmed, 28, distributed literature depicting a mannequin hanging from a noose and denouncing sexual acts between gay couples as a sin.

All five deny stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, in the first prosecution of its kind since legislation came into force in March 2010.

The jury was yesterday warned not to treat the case as one of the right to religious freedom of expression but as a deliberate attempt to incite hostility.

Prosecutor Bobbie Cheema exhibited three leaflets some containing excerpts from the Koran, which she said were "threatening, offensive, frightening and nasty". The first, "The Death Penalty?", suggested three ways to murder homosexuals. It was handed out in July last year around the Jamia Mosque in Derby in the run up to a Gay Pride march.

A second, "Turn or Burn", which had earlier been put through neighbourhood letterboxes, depicted images of a burning lake of fire and an image of Hell. A third, also delivered to homes, used the word "GAY" – used as an acronym for God Abhors You.

In evidence one man who received the "Turn or Burn" leaflet said it made him feel as if he might be attacked in his own home because he was gay. Another said he feared his house would be firebombed.

The court heard that Mr Ali had been warned about using offensive language by police after planning a counter protest to the Pride march. He showed officers – already investigating the leaflets after public complaints – slogans intended for use on placards. These included: "Stay gay and you will pay" and "Adam and Eve, not Steve".

Mr Ahmed told police the views expressed an Islamic perspective on homosexuality and it was his duty as a Muslim to condemn the practice, the court heard. Razwan Javed had also admitted distributing the leaflets but said it was only to raise awareness not to frighten or threaten anyone.

The trial continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss