Man sentenced for stirring up hatred against Muslims on Facebook

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A man who posted messages on social media to stir up religious hatred against Muslims has been sentenced.

John Hanson, 61, from Yorkshire, posted two messages on Facebook in July 2016 in which he accused Muslims for being responsible for wars and attacks around the world and called on others to commit acts of violence against Muslims.

In a third post published on the same site in June 2017, he included a photo of himself wearing a t-shirt which mentioned destroying Islam.

When Hanson was interviewed by the police he admitted that the Facebook page he posted the comments on was his and he was the only person able to update it.

He denied that the posts were intended to stir up religious hatred but accepted that what he had written could be upsetting to view for others.

However, on 22 December he pleaded guilty to three counts of stirring up religious hatred at Bradford Crown Court and was sentenced on 7 February at the same court.

Hanson received a 12 month sentence suspended for two years. He was ordered to undertake 300 hours of community service.

Sue Hemming from the CPS said: “John Hanson’s case is another example of people posting extremist messages on social media.

“This is a serious offence which harms community relations. Where there is enough evidence and it is in the public interest we will prosecute those who seek to stir up religious hatred.”

Notes to editors

  • John Hanson (dob 04/10/1956) pleaded guilty to three counts of publishing material  intending to stir up religious hatred, contrary to section 29C Public Order Act 1986.
  • Sue Hemming is Head of the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division in the CPS.

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