Man Racially Assaulted Muslim Worshippers And Attempted To Set Fire To Mosque In Tooting

18 Dec 2011

By Alexandra Rucki

A man with mental health problems racially assaulted Muslim worshippers and attempted to set fire to a mosque, a magistrates court heard.

Damian Royston Smith, 30, of Lambourne Gardens, Essex, harassed worshippers at the Tooting Islamic Centre, in Upper Tooting Road, over five days.

Wimbledon Magistrates Court heard Smith converted to Islam seven years ago but lost contact with the Imam Suliman Gani.

On November 15 last year Iftikhar Hussain, a volunteer security worker at the mosque, said he saw Smith watching children going to evening classes.

Mr Hussain asked him to leave, but he began shouting racist abuse outside the prayer room and the mosque.

He went on to charge into the mosque doors with a whisky bottle.

The next day Smith barged Vase Siddiqi and shouted racist abuse at him outside the mosque, but Mr Siddiqi was told the imam was dealing with the situation.

Later on in the day he saw him lying down outside the mosque and decided to report the assault to the police.

Two days afterwards two policemen arrested Smith for trying to set fire to the mosque with a plastic bag filled with tomato tin cans and matches.

He said he had been sleeping rough for the past few days and wanted to be arrested so he had somewhere to sleep.

Prosecuting, Mrs Trudy Scott said: "It all happened in a short space of time because he was having issues with the mosque.

"The imam said he had converted to Islam seven years ago and lost contact, he had lost his mother and was going through a difficult time."

Judge Mrs Otomosho remanded Smith in custody for three weeks for a mental health report to be prepared.

He will next appear at Wimbledon Magistrates on February 8.

Rick Perry Suggests Turkey Should Be Kicked Out Of NATO, Calls Leaders ‘Islamic Terrorists' - by James Crugnale

During Fox News' South Carolina debate, Texas Governor Rick Perry suggested it might be time for Turkey to be kicked out of NATO, saying the country was being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists. Perry's response might surprise many, as Turkey is a longstanding US ally in NATO, and a critical diplomatic partner engaged in "a working relationship that is one of the most important but least discussed developments shaping (2011)'s change in the Arab world."

Moderator Bret Baier asked the Republican hopeful about the country's Islamist governing party, and outlined many of the problems going on in the nation, including a high murder rate among women, lessening press freedom, and military issues in the region. "Do you believe Turkey still belongs in NATO?"

RELATED: No, Rick Perry Didn't Accidentally Try To Call On A Mannequin During A Campaign Stop

"Obviously when you have a country that is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists, when you start seeing that type of activity against their own citizens, then, yes," Perry boldly proclaimed. "Not only is it time for us to have a conversation about whether or not they belong to be in NATO but it's time for the United States, when we look at their foreign aid, to go to zero with it."

Watch Perry suggest Turkey be kicked out of NATO below via Fox News:

Update: The Turkish media has responded to Perry's debate remarks… and they're not too happy. Here's what CNN reported earlier this morning:

"The debate that the Republican candidate Rick Perry attended on American Fox TV turned into a scandal that contained very ugly statements about Turkey," announced TRT state television.

"Rick Perry: what an idiot," tweeted Mustafa Akyol, a columnist with the English-languageHurriyet Daily news.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Turkish foreign ministry said it has no comment, but that the Turkish embassy in DC might seek clarification from Perry.


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