A British man is facing seven years in prison for threatening to stand outside a mosque in Scotland and burn an Islamic State battle flag, in a Facebook post that was reported to police.
Kenneth Meek, 54, of Livingston, West Lothian in Scotland has been charged with one count of using threatening language and two counts of inciting racial hatred after he made a Facebook post last September. It is alleged, reports the Scotsman, that Meek posted on Facebook about his intention to go to a mosque in his home-town during Friday prayers and burn the black battle-flag of the Islamic State outside in a protest against Islamic Extremism.
Police Scotland told Breitbart London that Meek was arrested on September 15th, which suggests his own social media post was related to the ‘Burn the ISIS Flag Challenge’ which was gaining traction at the time. An article published in the Daily Mail only a week before Meek’s arrest publicised the challenge, with pictures of people from around Britain and the world gathering to burn the ISIS flag. In one photograph, which was captioned as having been taken in London, a large group of people stand around a burning flag in public:
My comrades burn the ISIS flag in London. ISIS is no one's representative. pic.twitter.com/kxfIGSJYuu
— Maryam Namazie (@MaryamNamazie) September 5, 2014
Unlike others who took up the challenge and actually burnt ISIS flags rather than just talking about it on-line, Meek appears to have been singled out for special treatment by Police Scotland because a complaint was made to the force by someone who saw his social media postings. Further, a number of other groups have engaged in flag burnings in Scotland and England without facing repercussions.
A radical Muslim group led by Anjem Choudary staged a protest outside the United States Embassy in 2012, holding banners that read “Followers of Mohammed will Conquer America” and “Put Democracy and Freedom on Death Row”. While heavily armed police stood only yards away, the rabble burnt Israeli flags and made extremist speeches.
Although the police officers had fire extinguishers to hand, they were not used and no arrests were made.
In Scotland, radical nationalists made a point of burning Union Flags in the run up to the independence referendum last year, and at some demonstrations Unionists had to be surrounded by police for their own safety, as nationalists became increasingly violent. No arrests, yet presumably engaging in threatening or abusive enough behaviour to hit the prosecution threshold for section 38 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010, under which Meek has been charged for a Facebook post.
His trial will continue on the 13th of August.
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