The South Shields Gazette reports that a former soldier and English Defence League supporter, Kenneth Holden, has been given a twelve month community-order sentence for posting messages threatening Muslims on his Facebook page.
From the local paper:
“A South Tyneside ex-soldier used his Facebook page to make racist comments about Muslims.
“Kenneth Holden wrote the anti-Islamic messages after he started supporting the far-right English Defence League (EDL).
“Holden…pleaded guilty to two counts of sending an offensive message by a public communication network at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court last week."
In April this year, Holden posted on Facebook that he had “got a pipe bomb just 4 Ocean Road” - an area of South Shields known for its curry houses.
He added, “GIVE ME A GUN AN AL DO YOU ALL OSLO STYLE”, alluding to the terrorist attack carried out by Anders Breivik in Norway last year.
“Magistrates adjourned the case until yesterday for the probation service to write a report about him.
“The report recommended that Holden be placed under the supervision of probation so his attitudes towards Muslims could be looked at.
“Holden was given a 12-month community order with supervision.
The prosecution told the court that when Holden was arrested, he “asked the police if it was because he didn’t like Muslims.”
Last week his defence told the court that “He was in the Army, and has some fairly strong views about Muslims.
“He supports some of the beliefs of the English Defence League and believes that the group was started after some Muslims spat on soldiers who were returning from Afghanistan.”
Last month the army discharged a soldier who was found to have links with the EDL for committing an offence under the Armed Forces Act, and has investigated others for alleged involvement with the far right. The EDL has its own ‘Armed Forces Division’ and are known to actively recruit people from the armed forces; a report published this year by the Institute for Race Relations noted how organisations such as the BNP and EDL have exploited the sentiments of soldiers returning home to societies where opinions on British wars are divided and often negative. Concern has also been expressed about the MoD’s association with people who are known to hold views hostile to Islam such as Dr Patrick Sookhdeo.
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