Elham Asaad Buaras
A teenage girl and a man have been found guilty on May 2 of throwing bacon into Edinburgh Central Mosque. Chelsea Lambie, 18, from Paisley, and 38-year-old Douglas Cruikshank, from Galashiels in the Borders, carried out the early morning attack in January last year.
Cruikshank originally denied the charge, but changed his plea after prosecutors dropped their claim that the pair’s actions were racially aggravated. A jury took just over an hour to return a majority verdict on Lambie, who was found guilty of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner likely to cause fear and alarm.
The five-day trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how Lambie admitted that she was a member of the anti-Muslim far-right group the Scottish Defence League.
The attack on the mosque took place just two weeks after she was fined at Paisley Sheriff Court for launching a vicious racist tirade on a shopkeeper in the town.
She was just 16 when she called Shafqat Mahmood a “Paki b******” and told him to “go back to his own country.”
When the startled shopkeeper went back inside, Lambie followed him and continued to hurl abuse his way. She also pushed Mahmood and warned him he would get his throat cut.
Even when Mahmood threatened to call the police, Lambie paid no heed as she called him a “black b*****d”, lashed out at him and tried to kick him.
She also pushed a lottery machine from the counter, causing it to crash to the floor, before fleeing. During that court hearing, her defence solicitor said Lambie had been “horrified” when she read statements outlining her behaviour.
She always denied taking part in the mosque attack, insisting she had been at her boyfriend’s house in Gorebridge the whole time. But police found damning text messages on a Blackberry mobile phone they recovered from Lambie. One sent from the phone on the day of the attack read: “Going to invade a mosque, because we can go where we want.”
And after the phone received a message asking “What you do last night?”, a reply was sent reading: “Went to the mosque in Edinburgh and wrapped bacon round the door handles, opened the door and threw it in ha ha ha.”
Lambie denied sending the messages, telling the court that she had left her phone on the living room table, adding: “I let everyone in the house use it. It’s a contract phone, free for everything.”
The jury were also shown CCTV footage from a Scotmid in Nicolson Street – a short distance from the mosque – and heard that two men and a woman bought two packets of bacon from the branch at 5.55am on January 31 last year.
Just after 6am that day, security guard Usman Mahmood, 34, found the meat hanging from the mosque window and wrapped around the door handle. Giving evidence he told the court that it “hurt my feelings to have this meat in my sacred place”.
A third accused – Wayne Stilwel from Gorebridge – was sent to jail for ten months in August last year after he admitted attaching the bacon to the handles of the main door at the mosque. Sentence on Lambie and Cruikshank was deferred Sheriff Alastair Noble until May 23 for background reports.