Written by Student Rights on 9 July 2014 at 6am

Student society defends violent criminals jailed over racist assault

Student Rights has uncovered that the Islamic Society at the University of East London (UEL) has shared a status defending a number of men jailed last week after they were convicted of grievous bodily harm.

One of these men was the convicted terrorist Abu Bakr Mansha, who was sentenced to six years in prison in January 2006 after being found guilty of possessing a document or record likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

Having obtained what he believed to be the address of Corporal Mark Byles, awarded the Military Cross for bravery in Iraq, Mansha was also in possession of a replica pistol which he had attempted to convert to fire live rounds.

He owned DVDs featuring footage of Osama Bin Laden and praising martyrdom, as well as video of the brutal beheading of Ken Bigley, who was killed by Islamist militants in Iraq in October 2004.

Jailed for ten years on 2nd July 2014, Mansha assaulted two men in a Tesco store in East London in September 2012, and later followed them home, beating them both in an attack that left one victim with a fractured skull.

The judge presiding over the case also stated that there was “...a religious aspect to this offence... [and]...there was an undoubted racial element”.

However, UEL ISOC’s status quoted an individual who claimed to have met the men in prison, and said their crimes were mitigated as “two black non Muslim men harrased [sic] a Muslim sister”.

Worryingly, despite saying that the men should not have taken the law into their own hands, it also asked readers: “if YOUR sister was harmed what would you do?"

The status shared also claimed that the police normally ignore crimes such as this, but as the assailants “were suspected religious extremists they threw everything on them”.

Both the defence of violent criminals and false claims of police victimisation inherent in this post should be deeply concerning.

As such, we hope that staff at UEL are aware such views are being promoted on affiliated student social media, and will address this issue with the student society in question as soon as possible.