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Muslim men guilty over gay leaflets

Three Muslim men have become the first to be convicted of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation after they handed out a leaflet calling for gay people to be executed.

Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed and Razwan Javed handed the pamphlet, entitled The Death Penalty?, which showed an image of a mannequin hanging from a noose and quoted Islamic texts that said capital punishment was the only way to rid society of homosexuality.

At Derby Crown Court, they were convicted by a jury of distributing threatening written material intending to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation - the first prosecution of its kind since legislation came into force in March 2010.

Mehboob Hussain and Umar Javed, who were also charged with the same offence, were found not guilty.

A two-week trial heard that the men, who are all from Derby, admitted distributing the leaflet but said they were simply quoting and following what their religion teaches about homosexuality and did not intend to threaten anyone.

The leaflet was handed out outside and near the Jamia Mosque in Derby's Rosehill Street and in streets around the local neighbourhood in July 2010. It was made and used as part of a campaign to publicise a protest in response to the Gay Pride parade due to be held in Derby on July 10 that year.

Taxi driver Ali, 42, of Fairfax Road, who the prosecution said was believed to be the main organiser and supplier of the leaflets, was found guilty of four counts of distribution on July 2 and July 4.

Ahmed, 28, who is married with a nine-month-old daughter and lives in Madeley Street, and Razwan Javed, 28, of Wilfred Street, were convicted of distribution in the area of the mosque on July 2.

But married taxi driver Mehboob Hussain, 45, of Rosehill Street, and Razwan's brother Umar Javed, 38, a married takeaway worker who lives in Whittaker Street, were both cleared of distribution relating to posting the leaflets through the letterboxes of homes on July 4.

Zarif Khan, representing Razwan Javed, said they would be looking to appeal the convictions. The men will be sentenced on February 10.

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