London Evening Standard | Thursday, 5 July 2012 | Click here for original article
The parents of a Muslim university student convicted of a religiously motivated attack on young Jews said: “Our son is no racist.”
Mohammad Khalifa, 19, was fined for hurling eggs and yelling “Oi, Jews” and “f***ing Jews” at passers-by while driving his father’s BMW through Golders Green with three friends.
But his father, a paediatrician, today claimed the victims had misheard and the students had shouted “Oi, you.”
Dr Khorshid Khalifa said: “My son has never been racist. All he said was, ‘Oi you,’ and people took it as, ‘Oi Jew,’ but that’s all it was.
“It’s very stupid. The solicitors said the case should have been dropped.” Willesden magistrates heard the four friends were driving to watch a film at the O2 Centre in Finchley Road in December when they stopped to buy eggs, which they threw at a group of women and a group of teenage boys.
The women were “angry and startled”, magistrates heard. Fifteen minutes later, two teenage boys heard one of the four yell ‘f***ing Jews’ before they were targeted, ending in one egg cracking on a 14-year-old’s trousers.
Khalifa and Mohammed Jawad, of Wembley, along with Haider Al-Fardan, 21, and Aimen Mohamed, 19, of Hendon, admitted throwing the eggs for fun but denied their actions were religiously motivated.
Al-Farden, who studies accounting and finance, told the court his grandmother was Jewish and if he had wanted to target Jews he would have gone to a synagogue near his house.
Jawad, a 20-year-old international business student, said he had a Jewish ex-girlfriend and played football with Jews. But magistrates rejected their account and found the four guilty of using religiously-aggravated words or behaviour.
They were ordered to pay £415 each, which includes costs and compensation for victims.
Passing sentence, magistrate Philip Sethil said: “We found the evidence of witnesses to be clear and consistent. Despite the fact of their previous good character we do not accept the defendants’ explanation they said ‘Oi you.’
“You all came from good families, you are all hard-working and at university. You are all intelligent boys. This was crazy what you did.”
Dr Khalifa said his son was a hard-working student who had been badly affected by the court ordeal. “He's very upset, especially as that’s not what he meant at all. He never said that.”