• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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April: Muslim World League Building Graffiti Case in Court

Here’s one I missed from April; from the Camden New Journal:

A CARER who wrote “EDL” and drew a religious cross on the wall of a mosque has been found guilty of aggravated criminal damage.

Andrew Baldwin, from Fitzrovia, admitted daubing the three letters – representing the far right English Defence League group – and the cross on the wall of the Muslim World League (MWL) building in Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, on December 10 and again on March 5.

…He said his graffiti had been aimed at “wrong’uns” rather than Muslims in general, adding: “Anyone going into that building to do their business and pray to their god, it’s not aimed at them. It’s aimed at the other types.”

…Judge Anthony Martin said Mr Baldwin’s evidence had been “inconsistent”, adding: “In our view that graffiti would offend a class of people rather than ­particular individuals.”

The building also contains a mosque, and Baldwin was also found guilty of damaging a CCTV camera.

The Muslim World League is an organisation which deserves some critical scrutiny: its main donor is Saudi Arabia, and it is generally recognised that the global promotion of Wahabi Islam is a cause for concern. It seems unlikely, though, that this particular distinction motivated Baldwin (not that his behaviour can be justfied either way).

This was not the first time the MWL building has been targeted: in 2010 the building was plastered with stickers advertising “Cheerleaders Against Islamic Extremism” – a group which I have had to write about a number of times, and which boasts of working with groups such as the Quilliam Foundation. An official video was posted to the “Cheerleaders” Facebook page, captioned “Mr Rivers’ sticker raid on the league”; I outlined my dealings with this person (real name Matthew Edwards) here.

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