Atheist given Asbo for leaflets mocking Jesus

Jerome Taylor,Religious Affairs Correspondent
Saturday 24 April 2010 00:00 BST

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An atheist who left leaflets mocking Jesus Christ, Islam and the Pope in an airport's prayer room has been given an Asbo.

Harry Taylor, 59, from Higher Broughton, Salford, left the anti-religious posters in prayer rooms at Liverpool John Lennon Airport in November and December 2008.

Taylor denied three counts of causing religiously aggravated harassment during his trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

But he was found guilty by a jury and given a suspended six-month sentence yesterday, as well as an Asbo forbidding him from carrying anti-religious leaflets in public.

One of the posters Taylor left at the airport depicted a smiling crucified Christ next to an advert for a brand of "no nails" glue. In another, a cartoon depicted two Muslims holding a placard demanding equality with the caption: "Not for women or gays, obviously." A third poster showed Islamic suicide bombers at the gates of paradise being told: "Stop, stop, we've run out of virgins".

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, has been left angry over the conviction.

"The six month sentence may have been suspended, but it is still totally out of proportion for what Mr Taylor did. The professional 'offence takers' in religious communities will now feel that they have a strong weapon to use against anyone who is critical or disapproving of them. It is, in effect, a blasphemy law that covers all religions and is much more powerful than the one which was abolished two years ago."

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