A Bedfordshire man who threatened a 21-year-old security guard in an Islamophobic incident has been ordered by the courts to pay a £1,665 fine and £85 in compensation to the victim.
Anthony O’Farrell, 45, of Clophill Road, Silsoe, pleaded guilty to using religiously aggravated words intended to cause harassment, alarm or distress and possession of a Class B drug, at Luton Magistrates’ Court on January 5.
Uwais Akhtar was working as a doorman at MacDonald’s in Luton town centre at around 5 am on December 18 when he was approached by O’Farrell.
O’Farrell had been attending an event in Dunstable earlier in the evening and was noticeably drunk. O’Farrell walked towards Akhtar and called him a “Muslim c**t”.
Akhtar said: “Out of nowhere, he called me a Muslim c**t. I was so shocked at this and didn’t know how to respond. I started to feel sick and disgusted.”
O’Farrell followed this insult a few seconds later by calling the young man a “terrorist”.
Akhtar said: “At this point, I told him to walk away. He refused, so I put my radio on and called it into the police. He then walked off, the council CCTV followed him up the street and he was arrested. What was done that day was not right. I mean, is it a crime to be a Muslim?”
When O’Farrell was arrested later that morning he was found to be in possession of a small amount of cannabis.
In a statement to The Muslim News, a spokesman for Bedfordshire Police said: “This was an extremely distressing incident for the 21-year-old victim, which has made him fearful of further attacks. We are really pleased with the sentencing which sends out a strong message to others that Beds Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts adopt a zero-tolerance approach to this type of behaviour.”
“Hate crimes are based on ignorance, prejudice, discrimination and have no place in our society, as everyone has the right to live free from fear or harassment. We hope this case will encourage others who have experienced Islamophobia or other hate crimes to come forward and report them.”