A BNP supporter stuck racist stickers on packages and sent them out in a protest over mosques, a court heard. The stickers contained the words ‘no more mosques’ and a cartoon figure of a Muslim with a bomb exploding from his head. They were found by Muslim workers at the Royal Mail Centre in Stockport in March.
Internet trader Lockhart Kneen, 39, of Braemore Drive, Hyde, who sells political magazines for the BNP, claimed he had put the stickers on the packages and sent them out through the post in protest against a ‘Tameside super mosque’.
Stockport Magistrates heard that the stickers, which contained the Muslim tenet ‘There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger’, were found by a Muslim mail processor who found them extremely offensive.
"When I saw the statement about no more mosques and the writing in Arbabic, I knew that these stickers were not normal and were descriminating against muslim people," said Mr Mohammed. "I live in a free country and nobody makes trouble for me. I am very glad to live here, but of course the statement ‘no more mosques’ offends me. If I was a Christian and somebody said ‘no more churches’ it would be offensive."
The packages were traced to Kneen, who claimed he had been advised by the leader of the BNP in Tameside that the stickers were not racist, but were illegal when stuck on public property.
"I just thought, the stickers are fine, these parcels are my property and I live in a free country, so I decided to stick them on my property," he said. "They’re going to move the war graves in Ashton and build a super mosque. I’m a methodist. If someone said no more methodist churches I wouldn’t find that offensive, that’s their opinion."
Kneen’s internet account has been suspended and he is no longer able to trade in electronics.
Defending, Mr Lake said: "It was an expression of freedom of speech that was expressed in the stickers and clearly had personal significance to the defendant."
District Judge Tim Devas said: "I find the defendant’s point on Methodist churches thought provoking. But these stickers did cause offence to people of other cultures and I don’t find his actions reasonable."
Kneen was fined £150 and ordered to pay £115 costs for two counts of racially/religiously aggravated harrassment.