A BNP activist tried to stir up religious hatred of Muslims in Barnoldswick by handing out contoversial leaflets, a court heard.
Anthony Bamber, 54, printed and then distributed documents entitled ‘The Heroin Trade’ which allegedly claimed followers of Islam were responsible for the sale of the drug on Britain’s streets, Preston Crown Court heard. The leaflet said the trade was a 'crime against humanity' and demanded that Muslims 'apologise and pay compensation' for the flow of heroin from Pakistan and Afghanistan, the court was told.
Bamber, from Preston, went with a friend to Barnoldswick in March 2008 and hand delivered the leaflets to a number of homes. One resident alerted police and officers arrived to speak to Bamber. He claimed he was trying to promote a group called Preston Pals, named after a First World War battalion who recruited from the city.
Bamber is also accused of delivering similar material across the north west and sending leaflets to a Cumbrian school and two Manchester barristers.
David Perry QC, prosecuting, said: “The defendant distributed leaflets and letters by hand or by post which were threatening and he did so with the intention of creating or stirring up religious hatred, and the religion he directed the hatred towards was Islam. This case is about hate speech. That is speech designed to arouse hatred against members of a social group identified by a particular characteristic. In this case the social group is Muslims and the characteristic they share is religion, namely Islam. The objective of the letters and leaflets, the prosecution say, was to provoke hatred of Islam. The hatred was not directed just at the concept but at the followers of Islam - Muslims.”
Bamber, who is representing himself in court, denies seven charges of distributing material designed to incite religious hatred.
Mr Perry said: “They (the Preston Pals) have got nothing whatsoever to do with the BNP and nothing whatsoever to do with the hatred of Islam. Why that name was being used is not really known."