Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels
A preacher, who went on a homophobic tirade at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park in 2019 has been convicted of a hate crime.
In a one-day trial on Wednesday (1 September) 65-year-old Omar Mohamad, known as ‘Uncle Omar’ was convicted of using threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm, or distress when he went into a six-minute rant almost two years ago.
He’s due to be sentenced at the City of London’s Magistrates Court on 22 September.
“Hate crime has no place in our society”
According to the Crown Prosecution Service, in the incident, which took place on 6 October 2019, Mohamad cornered his victim, who had called him out for glorifying terrorism in speeches at Speaker’s Corner.
Omar told the victim, a white convert to Islam, he was “filthy,” accused him of “spreading Aids,” and that he was “worse than a terrorist”. The incident was filmed and uploaded to YouTube.
In a statement Kalsoom Shah, from the CPS, said: “London’s Speakers’ Corner has had a proud and longstanding tradition of providing a space for debate. But this does not mean it is a safe space for hate crimes.
“Mohamad carried out a personal attack on the victim based on his sexuality. Mohamad’s words were homophobic, hostile, and designed to intimidate and discredit the victim, who was left feeling extremely upset,” he continues.
Shah also thanked people for calling out Omar’s behaviour and helping the prosecution. Lastly, he said: “Hate crime has no place in our society and the CPS will robustly prosecute offenders. I hope this conviction gives other victims of hate crime the courage to come forward.”
The CPS’ statement concludes by saying that it will request a hate crime sentence uplift in this case pointing out that crimes motivated wholly or partly by hostility towards someone’s presumed race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability are eligible for an increased sentence.
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