A radio host has been found not guilty of racially aggravated harassment charges over a tweet he posted about a Muslim campaigner.
Tim Burton of the newly formed far right political party Liberty GB, accused Fiyaz Mughal of anti-Muslim monitoring charity Tell Mama UK of being a “mendacious grievance-mongering taqqiya artist”.
“Taqqiya” is a form of religious dissimulation or a legal dispensation whereby a Muslim can deny their faith or commit illegal or blasphemous acts while they are at risk of significant persecution.
The 61-year-old also called Mr Mughal a “scumbag”.
Mr Burton uploaded his insults following claims that Mr Mughal had exaggerated such attacks after the death of British soldier, Lee Rigby in Woolwich last May.
Mr Burton, a computer consultant, was cleared of the charges at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.
He said: “This was an historic decision. I have no regrets.
“I consider this organisation (Tell Mama) was publicly funded on false premises. The tweets were rude and sarcastic, but I do think this was a victory for free speech.”
The day long trial heard evidence from Dutch scholar, Hans Jansen, a “taqiyya expert”.
But Mr Mughal, 42, who gave evidence during the trial via video link, said: “A green light has been given for this man to use this terminology in the future.
“A Muslim scumbag was what I was called, and the court has effectively allowed that. What does that say to Muslims in Birmingham?”
Mr Burton stressed: “I am not racist, absolutely not. Islam is not a race. I am not Islamophobic. Phobia is an irrational fear of something.”
The trial judge decided Mr Burton had a right to free expression and felt the tweets did not constitute harassment.
He did, however, urge Mr Burton to consider moderating his language in future.
It’s a ruling that has angered Mr Mughal. He added: “This man is an ideologue in relation to his thinking about Muslims. This was a very important case because it was based on anti-Muslim rhetoric.
“No one should be targeted like this – that is all I’m saying. We should get on with each other.”
The Liberty GB mission statement reveals what the party believes to be the “most important issues of our time” – namely “mass immigration from the Third World, the steady rise of fundamentalist Islam and the hijacking of traditional British culture and institutions by well-organised left-wing progressives”.
One of their candidates for the European elections was arrested last week after making a speech quoting from a book written by Winston Churchill in 1899 about Islam.
Police detained Paul Weston, chairman, on suspicion of religious or racial harassment last weekend after a member of the public complained. He was released on bail.
The government did not continue its funding to Tell Mama after the group failed to substantiate that much of an increase in Islamophobic attacks reported to it following the murder of Lee Rigby.
Mr Mughal was heavily criticised by many Muslims earlier this month after he invited gay rights champion Peter Tatchell to be a patron of Tell Mama.