Man sent to court for stuffing ham in the shoes of Muslim worshippers.

Jamie Knowlson, 30, has been charged in court after stuffing ham in the shoes of Muslim worshippers as well as draping it on railings outside the mosque as his victims prayed inside. He was then caught on CCTV hurling abuse at worshippers after they confronted him over his act.

He pleaded guilty to causing racially or religiously aggravated harassment and could have been jailed for up to two years.

But he walked free from Bristol Crown Court with a suspended six-month prison sentence because he had returned to the mosque to apologise for his actions.

Sentencing, Her Honour Judge Carol Hagen said:

It is difficult to imagine a more offensive incident.Not only the fixing of meat to railings but aggravated, in my view, that members of the mosque were inside praying at the time.

David Hunter, prosecuting at Bristol Crown Court, said it had been a premeditated attack specifically targeted at the Muslim community.

Ian Halliday, defending, said:

This was a brutal, misconceived, drunken prank. He returned to the mosque and offered his apologies in person.

Knowlson sat in tears as he was handed a six-month suspended sentence and 150 hours of unpaid work.

After sentencing, Mubarak Mohamud, one of the three imams at the Al-Baseera mosque, claimed the inflammatory act had upset the Muslim community.

He said:

There wasn’t anger, people were more upset and shocked. We don’t eat pork and we are banned by our faith from eating it, as it makes us impure when we are going to our prayers. We don’t hate the man – we just suppose he doesn’t know us.

A drunken reveller had urinated through the letter box of the same mosque a few years ago.

OK – this sort of thing isn’t fair. Whether it was a prank or not, it is discriminatory, and asks for retaliation and angered attack. We shouldn’t be condoning this sort of behaviour.

However, what I find amusing about the whole thing is Judge Carol Hagen. She doesn’t have a very good imagination, does she? “It is difficult to imagine a more offensive incident.” What?! I can imagine PLENTY of more offensive incidents. Many which are hardly ever recorded in the news.

The thing to take from this article is that, like I’ve said in the past, people are increasingly becoming intolerant of other faiths. I’ve also said that ‘tolerance’ shouldn’t be mistaken for allowing hatred, radicalisation and extremism. Of course, Islamic groups have no right to play the injured party in the news all the time when it comes to religious intolerance. Indeed some Muslims insight intolerance and hatred – especially on RE teachers. But this rule goes for all faiths and religions, even atheists.

My remedy for this is to make sure that we are teaching our younger generations about other faiths, world views and religions properly. Though, this seems to be becomming harder to do seen as MPs are increasingly worried over the place of Religious Education within the schooling system. Yet those who are calling for RE to be scrapped don’t seem to have a better solution. Do they?


Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @

  • AJ

    I notice you’re throwing around the word tolerance quite a lot with regards to tolerating other religions, check out the lecture of ‘The intolerance of tolerance’ by Don Carson on youtube, it’s very interesting and gives a rather interesting view of our culture

    • Thanks AJ – Listened to the lecture. He makes some really good points, and we need to be wary of what we are being tolerant of. Tolerance can be something that many hide behind because they don’t want to face the true reality of what they are supposedly being ‘tolerant’ of. The question needs to be asked in certain cases whether we are being ‘Tolerant’ or are we ‘Scared/can’t be bothered doing or saying anything because we find it morrally wrong or unacceptable’?