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article imageMan says he won't pay £50 fine for burning poppy on Armistice Day

By Lynn Curwin     Mar 9, 2011 in Crime
London - A Muslim extremist who was convicted of public disorder for burning poppies and shouting hate slogans on Armistice Day says he will not pay the £50 fine imposed by the court.
Emdadur Choudhury, 26, was one of the members of Muslims Against Crusades who shouted "British soldiers burn in hell" and set poppies on fire during the two-minute silence in London last year.
Chief magistrate Howard Riddle said he had considered freedom of expression, but it is not unlimited.
"It insults the memory of the dead. It insults those that commemorate the dead," Sky News quoted him as saying.
"It insults those who have lost loved ones. It insults those who use this occasion publicly to show their gratitude for lives sacrificed."
Shaun Rusling, vice-chairman of the National Gulf War Veterans and Families Association, said that being too easy on people would encourage them to become more radical and offensive with their protests.
"If we set fire to a Quran there would be uproar and they would go after us but because this is Britain people just get upset. It is a futile sentence," he told Sky News.
Choudhury did not attend court for the sentencing.
"I did not want to waste my time on something which is really insignificant," The Sun quoted him as saying.
"This fine, I will wear it as a badge on my shoulder. I did it for Allah. I did it to raise awareness that these so-called soldiers are the criminals. They are the ones who should be tried for war crimes."
He added that a parking ticket costs him more.
The maximum fine he could have received was £1,000, but the amount he was ordered to pay was means tested when his lawyer said he earned £480 a month working part-time and got £792 a month in benefits - which include working tax credit, child tax credit and child benefit. (He has two children.)
Muslim Labour MP Khalid Mahmood called the sentence inadequate.
“We don't take it seriously enough, he hurt a lot of people," The Telegraph reported that he said. "I really don't think it is acceptable to protest against people who have died for their country."
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