Britain First leader sparks police hate crime warning after threat to bury pigs at planned mosque
Paul Golding told Dudley rally that burying dead animal at proposed site would scupper plans
A police chief has warned hate crimes will be “relentlessly” pursued after a far-right leader threatened to bury a pig at a mosque construction site in Dudley.
Paul Golding told a Britain First rally in the town on Saturday that he is prepared to go to prison in a bid to stop the place of worship being built.
Another speaker also made remarks about the Prophet Muhammad, which were recorded and reported by anti-fascist activists in the crowd.
A Muslim community leader later said the inflammatory comments came against a backdrop of hate crimes and had been reported to the police.
West Midlands Police has now confirmed that the speeches, on the steps of Dudley Council House, had been “closely monitored”.
Chief Superintendent Chris Johnson said: “We are aware that some people may have taken offence to comments made during speeches at Saturday’s peaceful protest in Dudley and understand the impact of these type of threats.
“The event was closely monitored throughout by police officers and no crimes were committed or arrests made. There is a clear distinction between freedom of speech and a criminal act.
“Members of the public should be under no illusion that when words become criminal actions, West Midlands Police will use every available power to relentlessly pursue offenders.
“The force has a strong history of taking action against perpetrators of hate crime.”
The former BNP councillor’s threat follows four severed pig heads being dumped on the doorstep of a new community centre in Solihull last month.
Protesters claim the building is being used as an unauthorised mosque.
West Midlands Police is investigating and has CCTV of a suspect.
Mr Golding claimed that the act of leaving a pig on the building site would desecrate the ground and mean the work could not go ahead “against the rules of the Koran”.
But Muslim leaders responding to similar attacks around the world have pointed out this is a misconception which does not stop new mosques being built.
Amjid Raza, of Dudley Central Mosque, said: “We heard the same thing in November – that they were going to bury pig heads on the mosque site.
“The police are aware of it as complaints have been made.
“I haven’t listened to all of the speech at the rally but comments were made about the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and these have been reported to the police.”
The rally brought Dudley town centre to a virtual standstill as around 150 flag-waving Britain First supporters took part in the march to the council offices.
Far-right groups want to the stop the building of a new mosque, which has been granted planning permission on a site away from the existing place of worship.
*For advice on hate crime and how to report it visit: http://www.report-it.org.uk/home