London News & Search
The director of an Islamic bookshop today welcomed a community sentence given to a man who threatened to “kill the Muslims”, saying: “You can’t defeat hate with more hate.”
David Moffatt, 39, burst into Cricklewood Muslim Youth Trust bookshop, which was packed with women and children, and threatened to blow it up.
He was wearing a hi-vis jacket and was arrested at home the same night after police reviewed CCTV footage. When officers confronted him over the allegations, he replied: “I’m not anti-Muslim, I’m Catholic.”
Souflane Abyu Hafsa, 49, director of the Cricklewood Muslim Youth Trust, said: “We’ve had nasty incidents like this in the past, there are morons everywhere, both Muslim and non-Muslim.
“But when this guy came in and said he was going to blow us up and kill us all, that’s a different story. What can you do? We have women and children who study here.
“He was so bold, he passed the shop and said something bad about Muslims. We ignored him, we didn’t want to rile him up. He then came back and opened the door and shouted, ‘All Muslims should be killed and this place should be bombed’.
“I was scared, the people who come here were terrified. You have to take a threat like that extremely seriously. You saw what can happen in Finsbury Park.”
Moffatt, from Cricklewood, pleaded guilty to causing religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm and distress at Willesden magistrates’ court last month.
He was sentenced to a community order requiring him to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and to pay £620 in costs and a victim surcharge of £85.
Mr Hafsa added: “I hope this sentence changes his mind. I didn’t want him to go to prison to be ripped from his family and have him resent us more. You can’t defeat hate with more hate. I think justice has been done. Whatever he gets he deserves because this is another form of terrorism.
“Islamophobia is at its highest level I have ever known in this country so this sentence sends out the right message.”
Detective Inspector Madeline Ryder said: “Hate crime is unacceptable and Brent’s community safety unit is committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms, supporting victims and their families and bringing perpetrators like Moffatt to justice.”
London News & Search