Birmingham man jailed for posting 32 Islamophobic tweets after Manchester Arena attack

Rhodenne Chand [Source: West Midlands Police]

A Birmingham man has been jailed for stirring up racial hatred after he posted a string of Islamophobic tweets.

Rhodenne Chand posted 32 tweets in the space of a few days in the wake of the Manchester Arena attack last May.

Some of the messages encouraged violence against Muslims and for mosques to be attacked − and in one, Chand claimed he wanted to “slit a Muslim’s throat”.

A member of the public reported the Islamophobic rant to police fearing the 31-year-old might carry out his threats.

Chand was arrested on 17 June last year, and he admitted issuing the messages and said he felt disgusted at himself for writing the posts.

He told police officers he was “venting” in the aftermath of the Manchester and London Borough Market attacks and had stopped using Twitter.

However, a specialist prosecutor assessed the case and determined the posts showed intent to stir up racial and religious hatred and that such “violent rhetoric can cause considerable harm once it is in the public domain”.

Chand was charged with publishing threatening, abusive or insulting material intended to stir up racial hatred.

He admitted the offence and appeared at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday 25 June where he was jailed for 20 months.

West Midlands Police Superintendent Mat Shaer said: “This case saw the sustained release of offensive, threatening material aimed at Muslim and Pakistani communities − it left people fearing some of the threats could be carried out by him or his twitter followers.

“The law is careful to try and not penalise expression of opinion, even in strong and possibly offensive terms. But Chand’s tweets were a much baser expression of animosity towards a section of society and were totally unacceptable.

“We take hate crime very seriously and anyone found to be stirring up hatred on the grounds of race, religion, sexuality, or disability could find themselves in court and facing a criminal conviction.

“Court outcomes like this are important in order to reassure communities of our willingness to make progress in the way we tackle hate crime matches how proud we are to police such a diverse region.”

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