Muslim Rangers fan Abdul Rafiq fined over bigot remarks
BBC | Thursday, 17 November 2011 | Click here for original article
A Muslim Rangers supporter who chanted sectarian remarks at a game at Ibrox Stadium has been fined £600.
Abdul Rafiq, 41, the only Muslim member of the English Defence League, was arrested at Rangers friendly game with Chelsea on 6 August.
At Glasgow Sheriff Court he pleaded guilty to religiously aggravated breach of the peace by shouting, swearing and uttering sectarian remarks.
Sheriff John McCormick also imposed a five year football banning order.
The court heard that Rafiq, from Kelvinbridge, Glasgow, was heard shouting phrases which hit out at Catholics and the Pope.
Fiscal depute Seana Doherty, prosecuting said: "The accused was standing in the Govan front stand wearing a flag around his shoulders bearing the Red Hand of Ulster logo.
"He was wearing an umbrella stand hat which was red white and blue and also had the Red Hand of Ulster logo on it, and carrying a blue Rangers backpack.
"He was seen by three police officers to stand up from the seat and chant sectarian phrases."
The court was told Rafiq was warned by the officers to stop but continued and was arrested.
Defence lawyer Ashley Kane told the court: "Mr Rafiq is a member of the English Defence League, as a result of his membership to this and him being the only Muslim member of the organisation he does stand out."
She said that he has been a Rangers fan for the majority of his life and has attended matches and sung songs.
Ms Kane added: "At the time of the offence he didn't believe that his actions were offending anyone."
She also said that if he had known he was offending anybody he would not have acted in that way.