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Man admits assaulting woman over Christian sign

by Eno Adeogun

According to the International Business Times, Said Ahmed Latif, 36, said he lost his temper after becoming "upset" by a sign, which said 'Church of God', at the Salaam Centre in Hartlepool.

Teesside Magistrates' Court's prosecutor Holly Common said that on 22nd January 2017, Latif approached the manager after a gospel group called Loving Praise began using the centre as well. Common explained he told the unnamed victim outside the centre at around 12.50pm that he needed to speak to her.

Common added: "He crossed the road and said he could speak inside the centre. When inside the office, Latif began shouting 'Why are you letting them use the centre?'

"He said, 'You are an ignorant Muslim, you aren't listening to me'.

"He continued with a tirade of abuse before adding: "You shouldn't be here, you're upsetting us young Muslims'."

Common said that at this point, Latif raised his hand as if he was about to hit the manager but instead spat in her face.

A victim statement read by Common to the court said: "I was really upset about what happened. In 15 years, I've never had anything like this happen to me."

Latif represented himself in court and told District Judge Helen Cousins that he had only become angry after the victim called him "an extremist".

He said: "We are a small ethnic community, they've put a church group sign up saying 'Church of God" right next to the door to the mosque.

"I said 'can you move the sign to the other side?'

"It's a shame CCTV didn't show who was shouting at who. She started shouting at me - she called me an extremist.

"I plead guilty, I did spit at her - I lost my temper."

According to a probation officer, the father of three had previously helped raise money for Syria and ran youth groups at the centre where the assault took place.

Sentencing Latif, Judge Cousins said: "I regard this as very serious. Spitting at someone is very serious.

"I give you some credit as there was some conflict with the mosque and community centre."

Latif was given a community order with 60 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £50 compensation to the victim as well as costs and charges.

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