Churchgoers were left terrified after believing a 52-year-old Muslim man who walked into their church dressed like a terrorist on Remembrance Sunday might be armed with a bomb. Mohamed Dar covered his face with a scarf and his head with a bandana that had the words “God is Great” in Arabic written on it when he entered the New Life Church.
Derby Telegraph (h/t Linda R) Within minutes he was shouting how the congregation should “turn to Allah” and that Islam “sent boys aged 10 to war”. North East and Dales Magistrates’ Court heard how minutes before he walked into the church he had disrupted a Remembrance Day parade at the cenotaph in Alfreton.
The trial was told that Dar stood directly in front of the cenotaph, in Hall Street, and while the commemoration parade went past he “slow-clapped” . He then went in the nearby New Life Church which was conducting a Remembrance Day service.
Giving evidence yesterday, he said he had gone to the event dressed in that way “to show his respect to all the Muslims who had been slaughtered like pigs in Iraq and Afghanistan”.
In a statement read out by Michael Treharne, prosecuting, churchgoer Cheryl Taylor-Warriner said: “There were about 20 in the congregation and a man came in during the service. Within minutes he shouted ‘this is rubbish, you should be preaching Allah, turn to Islam, we send boys of 10 to war’.
“He was dressed like a terrorist, I though he may have a gun or a bomb or some sort of weapon, I was so frightened.” The statement of another churchgoer, Angela Gordon, was also read out by Mr Treharne. She said: “I could not believe what he was saying in the church, especially because it was Remembrance Sunday. He was dressed like a terrorist or a suicide bomber. “The incident really upset me. I felt physically sick.”
Magistrates yesterday found Dar guilty of two counts using threatening and abusive words or behavior. Giving evidence, Dar said he had lived in Alfreton for 11 years and that he did not know there was a Remembrance Day parade happening until that morning when he drove to Hall Street.
He said: “I accept that the views I expressed could be uncomfortable to other people but I cannot get to grips with the wars (in Iraq and Afghanistan) and it manifests itself with those words that I said. “I also wanted to pay my respects to all the Muslims that have been slaughtered like pigs in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
In a statement read out in court, Sergeant Jonathan Barnhill, of Derbyshire police, said he had been asked by Dar to visit his house on October 18, two weeks before the incident. He said: “When I was there Mr Dar said he viewed suicide bombers as the highest form of people.
He will be sentenced at a future date pending a report.