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The United Kingdom's Continuing Koran Censorship
by Andrew E. Harrod
Mark Stephenson confessed at a February 28, 2014, United Kingdom trial "threatening behavior" while watching a December 7, 2013, Birmingham soccer game. Stephenson's behavior involved Koran desecration, merely the latest case demonstrating deferential British censorship with respect to Islam's holy book.
According to one news account, a woman gave pages of a Koran taken from her handbag to Stephenson and about 20 other soccer fans during the game. Stephenson ripped the pages and pretended to burn them with a lighter while saying to a stadium worker that he had the "Muslim bible, we hate Muslims." Another worker overheard fans shouting "Koran, Muslims and burning."
Stephenson received a £235 fine for a "religiously-aggravated public order offence," a British hate crime that, among things, encompasses "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behavior." "We hope that in the future you will not ever, ever participate in any such incident," Judge Ronald Healey declared in sentencing Stephenson. It is "considered extremely offensive to some members of the community."
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