Two men did go to prison for throwing bacon at a mosque, while a man was fined for burning poppies

18th Feb 2020

Claim

A man was fined £50 for burning poppies.

Conclusion

This is true. Emdadur Choudhury was fined after burning poppies in 2011.

 

Mr Choudhury’s fine was paid out of his benefits.

 

It was reported at the time that Mr Choudhury received benefits and had a part-time job. We don’t know who paid the fine.

 

Two men were sentenced to eight months in prison for throwing bacon at a mosque.

 

Mateusz Pawlikowski and Piotr Czak-Zukowski were both sentenced to two eight-month sentences, to run concurrently, for criminal damage and a racial/religious public order offence after verbally abusing and throwing bacon at a worshipper in a mosque.

Claim 1 of 3

A post comparing the sentencing of three men for two different crimes has been shared thousands of times.

The post says that a man who burned poppies was fined £50, which was paid from his benefits, and that he laughed at this sentence. It compares this to two men who it says were sentenced to eight months in jail for throwing bacon at a mosque.

It is true that Emdadur Choudhury was fined £50 for offences under the Public Order Act after he burnt three poppies on Remembrance Day 2011 as part of a counter-protest. He was also ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge.

It was widely reported at the time that, according to his defence, Mr Choudhury received £792 pounds in monthly government benefits on top of £480 in monthly wages. It’s not clear whether he paid the fine himself, as in several interviews afterwards he claimed that radical preacher  Anjem Choudhury had offered to pay.

It’s also unclear if Mr Choudhury “laughed” at his sentencing in court, but the same article in the Mail says he laughed following his trial when asked if he’d do it again.

Then-Prime Minister David Cameron implied he felt Choudhury’s sentence was too lenient. At the time, the maximum fine for this was an £1000.

The post also says that two men who “threw bacon at [a] mosque” were sentenced to eight months in jail. This is also a real case, although that account does not fully describe what they were accused of.

The two men, Mateusz Pawlikowski and Piotr Czak-Zukowski, were both sentenced to two eight-month sentences for criminal damage and a racial/religious public order offence. These were to run concurrently, meaning the two sentences are served simultaneously. The men were said to have entered the mosque and thrown bacon at an attendee, as well as around the venue and in worshipper’s shoes. They also verbally abused the man.

We aim for our fact checks to be as accurate and up-to-date as possible. If you think we've made an error or missed some relevant information, please email team@fullfact.org.

Was this page useful to you? Yes No