British ex-soldier jailed for burning the Quran

A UK court jailed an ex-soldier for 70 days for burning a copy of Quran.

Updated: Apr 18, 2011, 23:04 PM IST

London: A British court on Monday jailed a
former soldier for 70 days for burning a copy of the Quran.

Andrew Ryan, an unemployed 32-year-old, stole the copy of
the Islamic holy book from a library and set it on fire with a
cigarette lighter in front of a crowd in the northern English
city of Carlisle.

Ryan, who pleaded guilty to religiously aggravated
harassment and theft at an earlier hearing, was witnessed
waving the burning book and shouting abuse about the Muslim
faith.

Following his arrest shortly after the incident on
January 19, Ryan told police: "I just hope I have not caused
World War III."

Passing sentence, judge Gerald Chalk told him: "This is a
case of theatrical bigotry.

"It was pre-planned by you as you stole the book
deliberately. You went out to cause maximum publicity and to
cause distress."

His defence lawyer Margaret Payne said Ryan, who served
in the army from the age of 16 to 20, lost his temper after
looking at "a website which had shown radical people burning
poppies and abusing British troops returning from abroad."

Afghanistan has been rocked by deadly demonstrations in
recent weeks in protest at the burning of the Quran by a US
pastor last month.

At least 24 people, including seven UN staff, have been
killed in the protests. The UN workers were killed in attack
on their compound in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif by
protesters.

PTI