Saturday, 26 January 2013


This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Leicestershire Police: "No tolerance for discrimination"
Police have warned that there is no tolerance in Leicester for discrimination.
They spoke after Liam Ferrar (24) admitted religiously-aggravated harassment aimed at the Muslim community.
The force said Ferrar was arrested and charged within three days of the incident, in which he left a pig's head outside a community centre in Thurnby Lodge, in the city, where a Muslim group held prayers.
Superintendent Mark Newcombe said: "This was clearly a religiously- motivated offence which was directed at those using the community centre as a Muslim place of worship, who found the incident extremely upsetting and shocking.
"We have no tolerance for discrimination in Leicester, of any kind, and the majority of people in the area were left very upset by the incident."
He said he hoped that Thursday's hearing at Leicester Magistrates' Court would "send a clear message to people like Ferrar, that all those in the criminal justice system will do all they can to bring you to justice".
Judith Walker, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Everyone has the right to practice their faith without fear of harassment.
"There is no place in our community for this kind of action that deliberately targets people on the grounds of their religion and the Crown Prosecution Service takes this kind of offending extremely seriously.
"Liam Ferrar admitted that he had left the head at the community centre and, in charging the offence, we were satisfied that his actions were motivated by hostility to cause shock and distress.
"Pigs hold a particular significance in the Muslim faith and this action was highly offensive to his victims."
The court was told that on the evening of December 25 last year, Ferrar went to Thurnby Lodge Community Centre, in Thurncourt Road, and placed the pig's head by the locked doors.
The head was facing outwards, towards the worshippers from Muslim group As Salaam, who arrived at the centre the following morning, Boxing Day.
The community centre has been the scene of regular protests since the summer over a former Scout hut nearby, which Leicester City Council was going to allow As Salaam members to use for prayers instead of the community centre.
The protesters wanted the Scout hut to be kept for use by the wider community.

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