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British Man Sentenced to 70 Days for Burning Quran

LONDON (RNS) A British former soldier has been jailed for burning a copy of the Quran in front of shoppers in England — an act the judge described as “theatrical bigotry.”

Andrew Ryan was sentenced to 70 days for setting fire to the Islamic holy book on Jan. 19 in Carlisle with a cigarette lighter after his first attempt with matches failed.

The 22-year-old ex-soldier’s lawyer, Margaret Payne, said his fury was “directed toward radical Islam such as the burning of poppies and flags.”

As he was led away to a cell on Monday (April 18), Ryan yelled, “What about burning poppies?”

Ryan was referring to a Muslim extremist who was convicted and fined for setting fire to a poppy — a symbol of Britain’s admiration for its war dead — during an Armistice Day observance in November 2010.


But Magistrates Court Judge Gerald Chalk told Ryan, “You went out to cause maximum publicity and to cause distress.”

Noting the defendant’s past record of six public disorder convictions, he added, “You are a man who has a history of violence and disorderly conduct.”

– AL WEBB, Religion News Service

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Billy Bob

    What a brave man.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    This is an overreaction which cannot be possibly be set as a precedent. If all holy books do not command this type of reverence then it goes to show a distinctly fearful reaction. Whose your daddy? the Quran and Islam that’s who. If someone was to burn the bible there would not be this level of fear and concern; what does that tell you?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cmaglaughlin

    No wonder “Great” Britain is not.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jestrfyl

    The guy is a Jerk. The thing is, Jerks never learn from “time-outs”. Instead they try to make the punishment into a justification of their jerkiness. The cause to which they attach themselves is usually a mere coincidence. This Jerk simply wants attention. He got it – and next he will try to get even more. Society needs inoculations against jerks so they become innocuous.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment MH

    The man is a jerk, but he has a point. If you can burn one symbol than why give special privilege to another? However, the law that imprisoned him is a terrible law and the English need to engage in some acts of civil disobedience to get rid of it.

    I also agree with Thunderfoot’s video in the link below:

    If you are not a Muslim then Quran is just a book. Burning it is an act of free speech no different from any other.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    knee jerk reaction born out of fear and cowardice, it wouldn’t happen if any other book was burned.

  • http://CIVILDECORUM Nasser J

    Forget about anyone’s faith, for all preach goodness. But just plain civil decum begs for consideration and common courtesy. An eye for an eye will surely make us all blind. As a proud Muslim, I could NEVER do this to another, even if they were not fellow beleivers.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    sorry NJ there is no enforceable law concerning concerning common courtesy, it’s nice to receive common courtesy but not a law and rightfully so. Locking this man up was uncalled for and sets a precedent that is impossible to follow without some type of prejudice surfacing. It was done in fear; a fear caused by Islamic violent responses to the practice of any free speech that offends their religious sensibilities about of course some Muslim’s belief of perceived superiority/dominance, and their right to kill any offender.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    Oh yeah of course if they cannot kill the offender they kill who they can.

  • info

    I will suggest to learn quran yourself and you will find the truth. Quran guide us towards nature and show us the path where we all are one. Quran teach us how to convert our individual thinking into collective thinking so that peace prevail in our society.

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