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British Man Sentenced To 70 days For Burning Quran

20 April 2011 Uncategorized 14 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

By Al Webb
Religion News Service

LONDON (RNS) A British former soldier has been jailed for burning a copy of the Quran in front of shoppers in England — an act the judge described as “theatrical bigotry.”

Andrew Ryan was sentenced to 70 days for setting fire to the Islamic holy book on Jan. 19 in Carlisle with a cigarette lighter after his first attempt with matches failed.

The 22-year-old ex-soldier’s lawyer, Margaret Payne, said his fury was “directed toward radical Islam such as the burning of poppies and flags.”

As he was led away to a cell on Monday (April 18), Ryan yelled, “What about burning poppies?”

Ryan was referring to a Muslim extremist who was convicted and fined for setting fire to a poppy — a symbol of Britain’s admiration for its war dead — during an Armistice Day observance in November 2010.

But Magistrates Court Judge Gerald Chalk told Ryan, “You went out to cause maximum publicity and to cause distress.”

Noting the defendant’s past record of six public disorder convictions, he added, “You are a man who has a history of violence and disorderly conduct.”

Original post: British Man Sentenced To 70 days For Burning Quran


  1. You see, Brits enjoy human rights and democratic freedoms just like Americans, but they don’t sacrifice justice and the greater social good for it. And the thing I also like about it is the way the law is applied fairly across the board no matter what the idealology of the bigoted perpetrator.
    I’m American by birth, but I lived in the UK for over twenty years, and I am often appalled by the way these sorts of situations-eg Terry Jones- are handled in this country in the name of “freedom of speech”.Brits are very tolerant of difference by and large, but they don’t put up with silly nonsense that puts individual exercise of freedoms above the greater social good and civil harmony. It’s a good balance.

  2. halima, that twenty years really took its toll. as an american you should know we value (well most of us, i think) our “individual exercise of freedoms above the greater social good”. also how does burning a book, or a flag, or protesting at funerals cause civil disharmony?

    plus,isn’t burning the koran the proper means of disposal.

  3. “applied fairly” you sure, your boy choundry (that maybe mispelled) and the guy with the hooks for hands advocate actually killing. not sure but i don’t think they have done any jail time? you would know better than i? here it looks more like the police are protecting him rather than arresting him? doesn’t look like he is creating a whole lot of civil harmony with his “freedom of speech”.

  4. Just an awful law – poor man.
    Free speech must be protected.

  5. I still think the judge nailed it- “theatrical bigotry” just about sums it up I think. Note that the Muslim referred to in this piece was likewise convicted and fined for setting fire to a poppy symbolizing Armistice Day. So, all’s fair in bigotry and war, I’d say.
    And what’s with the comment above about “burning the Qur’an is the proper means of disposal”?! I think you’re confusing it with an American flag- and why would you ever need to “dispose” of a Qur’an anyway?!
    I knew my admiration for “British Justice” would ruffle some predictable American feathers, but I stand by my comments. I once witnessed some Muslim propagandists who had set up their stall in my local town centre being shut down and moved along by the police for handing out rabidly Anti-Semitic leaflets. Both Louis Farrakhan and Terry Jones have been banned from the UK because of their hate-speech. Rabble-rousing, hate-mongering and encouraging others to disturb the peace are abuses of personal liberties and a disregard for the respect of others.

  6. halima, my bad i didn’t see someone was fined for burning flowers. (that’s terrible) you say fairly applied, did they do any jail time. (move along is a little different than imprisonment, also what about the hook guy and choundry?) i personally would support the burning of poppies or st george’s flag or the union jack. maybe i’m crazy, but i don’t find those action as causing social upheavel. i know several american military personel who say i disagree with you burning the flag but that they would die to defend your right to burn it. but if that (britian’s) example is the one you think america should follow then i hate to say it, but i think you are unamerican. (i have no feathers to ruffle i’m a libertarian). have you heard of skokie illinois? here in america we protect freedom of speech. especially stupid and hateful speech, because then again, why would you need to protect what is socially acceptable. here in america, we like to give the crazyies enough rope to hang themselves. hope you find these links some what informative on the american ideal of freedom of speech. it does differ from most (if not the rest) of the world’s. as for theatrical bigotry it is allowed, (sometimes governmet paid for) google piss christ. as for burning the koran to dispose of it, i was told that by a member of CAIR, he said he was glad that, that copy of the koran was no longer in Jones hands and that that burning was the proper way of disposal. i may have wrongly assumed that one would dispose of a copy due to (much like a flag) because of wear, or poor condition???

    8-1 decision in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., was the latest in a line of court rulings that, as Chief Justice John Roberts said in his opinion for the court, protects “even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.”

    This month’s Landmark Supreme Court Cases and the Constitution focuses on two cases that tested the limits of the First Amendment, and that demonstrated the United States’ commitment to freedom of speech. In these cases, National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie (1977), and Brandenburg v. Ohio (1968), the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment protects individuals’ rights to express their views, even if those views are considered extremely offensive by most people.

    American writer Noam Chomsky said “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”


  7. maybe we should be more like malaysia and indonesia

    but our british allies aren’t too bad, i remember when they played the star spangled banner after 9/11, (in those big bear skin hats) it brought tears to my eyes and the canadiens let us land our planes on their soil on 9/11. true friend both of them. but still i would not want to follow their lead on freedom of speech. plus don’t they still have a queen or king???

  8. Note this contrasting news: Two Muslim al Shabaab extremists in Somalia on Monday murdered Hassan Adawe Adan, a member of a secret Christian community in Lower Shabele region, Somalia, as part of a campaign to rid the country of Christianity.
    While proclaiming himself a moderate, President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed has embraced a version of sharia that mandates the death penalty for those who leave Islam.
    No arrests have been reported. April 21, 2011

  9. was muhammad a “moderate” muslim?

    Book 017, Number 4175:
    ‘A’isha reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) cut off the hand of a thief for a quarter of a dinar rid upwards.

  10. I’m practicing freedom of speech as an American, and for that Mike (see above) calls me ” Un-American”- hmmmmm. What’s wrong with healthy criticism?

  11. halima, you’re right, healthy criticism is good for the country. i retract my calling you “unamerican”. it looks like some supreme court justices agree with you on limiting freedom of speech. i just personally think it is fundamental as to what america stands for. therefore i think “theatrical bigotry” should be allowed, and even protected. my statement was wrongly influenced by reading an article on the definition of sharia, i read on “defendtheprohet”. the author of the article said that some things, inheritance laws, intoxicants, etc…. are not open for debate. i feel the same way about freedom of speech (my bad, but of course the constitution is always open to amendments and change, un like the koran/sharia?) also you say “I knew my admiration for “British Justice””, so does that not mean you would like to see british law circumvent american law? ok so i’m back on you being “unamerican” but of course in america you are allowed to be unamerican. just like i can call you unamerican. so are you a muslim? so do you agreed with the koran when it says that you can put one to death for “spearding mischief”?

  12. The problem with this type of thinking is that it favors those that are in control. Where would America be if we silenced MLK or others of his ilk simply because what he said caused riots in the streets. I realize he was arrested a number of times but he spoke, people died, property burned and in the end it was worth it. Halima under your rules, Mr. King would never had been able to give public speeches because of what they caused. We are lucky that we live in a country that a Koran was burned, because that means that others are free to read it and expound upon what they learn in the Koran without censorship. When it becomes illegal to say some things due to causing civil strife then it could come to pass that the government will decide that the Koran and its teachings cause strife and thus must be stopped. Freedom is for everyone not just the ones you agree with.

  13. amen criley401

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