Men Arrested in Gateshead Over Suspected Koran Burning

BBC News, September 23, 2010

Six Tyneside men have been arrested after filming themselves apparently burning copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Police said the men, all from the Gateshead area, were detained after a video appeared on the internet.

They were arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred and released on bail pending further inquiries.

Plans by a US preacher to burn copies of the Koran on 11 September resulted in widespread condemnation.

‘Mutual respect’

In a joint statement, Northumbria Police and Gateshead Council said: “The kind of behaviour displayed in this video is not representative of our community as a whole.

“Our community is one of mutual respect and we continue to work together with community leaders, residents and people of all faiths and beliefs to maintain good community relations.”

Two men were arrested on 15 September and a further four on 22 September.

In the video a group of men are seen pouring fuel over what appear to be copies of the Koran and setting light to them.

Plans by a US preacher Terry Jones to burn copies of the Koran, sparked worldwide protests and brought condemnation from American president Barack Obama.

[An earlier story about the September 15 arrests can be read here.]

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