Wednesday, 22 April 2015
Muslim prisoners 'attacked fellow inmate over insult to Prophet', Hull Crown Court hears

From the Hull Daily Mail

A CHRISTIAN prisoner was attacked by two Muslim inmates at a maximum security jail because he "defiled the image of the Prophet", a court heard.

Simon Richards was assaulted by Mahad Ali, 27, and Umar Arshad, 26, at HMP Full Sutton over comments Richards allegedly made to another prisoner, Luke Elliott, who was considering converting to Islam, Hull Crown Court heard.

Richards and Elliott were friends, the court heard, and Richards had offered support when Elliott's father died.

When Elliott discussed his thoughts about converting to Islam, Richards "seemed sceptical though not discouraging", Mr Woodcock said.

Before Elliott gave evidence over a video link from the jail near Pocklington, Mr Woodcock said: "You need to be sworn. Is there a Bible or a New Testament?"

"He's a Muslim," said Erimnaz Mushtaq, junior defence counsel for Mr Ali.So he went ahead with the conversion even after his mate was attacked - I wonder why?

Elliott told the court Richards made a comment when they were alone in Elliott's cell, which did not trouble him but may offend others.

"What, if anything, did you say to him when he said it?" asked Mr Woodcock.

Elliott replied: "I had a little laugh. I told him not to repeat that to any Muslim."

Mr Woodcock had earlier told the jury: "It was this remark which, unfortunately, was repeated and spread around the prison. The rumour was that Richards had defiled the image of the Prophet... It may be that fanatics have no sense of humour, that their sensibilities might be easily offended. It may also be that describing the Prophet in those terms is indeed offensive. It really doesn't matter one bit so far as this case is concerned."

A jury was shown CCTV footage of the prisoners walking circuits of  the exercise yard in E Wing on March 24 last year with Ali and Arshad allegedly "stalking" Richards as he walked in front of them.

As Richards – who, the court heard, expected "some kind of vengeance to be taken upon him" – reached the exit he ran for the doors, where his attackers pounced, it is claimed.

Ali was armed with an improvised weapon, made of two razor blades melted into the white handle of a toothbrush, and Richards was lucky to escape serious injury, the court was told. Richards, who suffered minor cuts and scratches in the incident, was too scared to give evidence out of fear of being labelled a "grass", the court was told.

Ali, of HMP Wakefield, and Arshad, of HMP Frankland, in Durham, both deny a single charge of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm. The trial continues.

Posted on 04/22/2015 2:55 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
22 Apr 2015
Send an emailSue R
What a dispicable creature this Elliot is. To 'shop' his friend for a private remark. But, as we know, Muslims and non-Muslims cannot be friends. I hope he enjoys himself with his new-found friends, and woe betide him if he should outlive his usefulness.

22 Apr 2015
I thought the same. That the only way the remark became common currency around the prison was the newly converted 'friend'.

23 Apr 2015
Christina McIntosh
Christian chaplains and Christian prison visitors - people involved in organisations such as the Prison Fellowship International and "Kairos", and in the UK, members of Mothers' Union, for I understand that they have quite an extensive program of outreach to female prisoners and their families - need to be much, much more informed about Islam, and the danger that Islam represents, so that they can provide solid support and counsel to prisoners who identify as Christian, and so that they can also, as opportunity presents, at least attempt to dissuade non-Muslim inmates, whether nominally Christian or of other backgrounds, from converting to Islam. Any prisoner who 1/ refuses to convert to Islam and perseveres in identifying as Christian in the face of Muslim bullying and threats and/ or 2/ attempts to dissuade others from converting, should be commended and encouraged. One hopes that the Christian chaplain or chaplains to this particular prison are in touch with Mr Richards to give him spiritual and practical support and advocacy.

29 Aug 2018
Send an emailSimon Richards
I'm the aforementioned Simon Richards that's all it was a comment made behind closed doors. Trying to get some one who I considered as a friend to think twice before converting to Islam just so he could be a part of something

29 Aug 2018
Send an emailEsmerelda
Mr Richards, thank you for commenting. I hope you are now completely recovered and keeping well. Best Wishes.

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