Why would St.George’s Cross make a Muslim, born and raised in England, whose own flag bears the cross of St.George, feel socially excluded? Unless it’s a self imposed exclusion. KGS
NOTE: Imagine an American flying a flag outside a partially built mosque, and being arrested for flying it while protesting the way a building permit was acquired. Unbelievable.
St George’s flag protest lands in court
THE English Defence League staged a protest in Reading today (Thursday) in support of a man arrested after hanging a St George’s flag outside a mosque.
Around 20 members of the controversial campaign group came from across the South East to demonstrate outside Reading Magistrates’ Court monitored by a heavy police presence.
Among them was co-founder Tommy Robinson, who told The Chronicle: “Our argument is with militant Islam. What’s far right about protecting women’s rights and gay people’s rights? The problem is the teachers of Islam, it’s got nothing to do with your colour. It all comes back to the Koran.”
Inside the court 37-year-old Tilehurst man Ronald Peterson was on trial for religiously aggravated harassment. The court heard he went to the partially built mosque in Oxford Road, west Reading, on May 30 to protest over the way its planning application was handled by the borough council.
Peterson, with two other men, draped the St George’s flag on a fence, posed for pictures and chanted “E, E, E.D.L” and “England”.
Witness Urfan Azad, 32, told the court he was in the nearby Reading Tea House and went outside after hearing the chanting.
He said he dialled 999 because he was concerned the situation could escalate, and added: “My concern was the flag needed to be taken off the fence because it might be seen by Muslims as a religious symbol. I felt upset about the whole incident. I’m British myself, I was born in Reading. It’s made me feel a bit socially excluded.”
Police arrived on the scene within minutes and, without warning him or giving him a chance to move on, arrested Peterson on the spot. Sgt Lee Barnham said he spoke to Mr Azad, and added: “He was offended by the use of what he considered to be a religious cross against the site of worship.
“It was clear he was upset and felt intimidated. I was satisfied an offence under the public order act had been committed.”