A Muslim father has been jailed for more than two years after he indulged in racist tirades at two schools, and physically assaulted a headteacher.
Mohammed Liaqat, 34, was branded a “bully” and banned from going near four schools in the Accrington and Burnley areas in the North of England.
According to the Daily Mail, the first tirade took place at Mount Carmel Roman Catholic High School in Lancashire. Angered by the school’s decision to bar two teenage pupils from lessons unless they shaved off their facial hair, Mr Liaqat launched into a racist rant at teachers, despite having no personal connection to the teenagers, repeatedly referring to the school as “racist”.
His outburst was witnessed by shocked parents who were picking up their children, and he was ordered to stay away from the school after being arrested for the incident.
Instead he went on to launch a similar invective at a nearby school: St Oswald’s RC Primary School where another of his children was a pupil. Approaching headteacher Jeff Brown, Mr Liaqat launched into another racist rant. When Mr Brown asked him to leave, Mr Liaqat assaulted him by “shoulder barging” him.
During his trial in Burnley, Mr Liaqat’s defence council Denise Fitzpatrick said her client faced a number of difficulties in his personal life, including the care of his seriously ill daughter, who attended a special school nearby.
Nonetheless, he was found guilty of guilty of racially-aggravated threatening behaviour and an assault charge. The presiding judge branded him a “bully”, and issued a restraining order against him which prevents him from having any contact with staff at four schools in the area: Mount Carmel and St Oswald’s, as well as Accrington St Peter’s Primary, and Rosehill Special School in Burnley.
He also received a 27 month jail sentence.
The teenagers at the heart of the row at Mount Carmel school later had their exclusions rescinded, after it emerged that they were studying a “Hafiz course” at their local mosque in which young Muslim men learn the Koran by heart.
The headteacher of Mount Carmel, Xavier Bowers, said his school worked hard to maintain community cohesion. “My staff were simply doing their job at the time, supervising our children leaving school and making sure they were safe,” he added. “Without provocation, they were verbally assaulted an abused in front of the children and parents.”
Following the conviction, St Oswald’s head, Mr Brown, said: “I’m looking forward to being able to move on from this unfortunate incident and getting back to normal school life.”
A Lancashire Police spokesman said that the force was satisfied with the sentence imposed for the offence, adding: “We are committed to tackling all crime motivated by hostility and prejudice and we would urge anyone who has been a victim of a hate crime to have the confidence to come forward and report it to police.”
And PC Dave Hall, of the force’s hate crime and community cohesion unit, said: “What he did was completely unacceptable. Whatever his motives, we cannot accept this kind of behaviour.”