A Birmingham man has been convicted of stirring up racial hatred with a string of Islamophobic tweets, as West Midlands Police warns that anyone who posts inflammatory messages risks arrest for committing hate crimes.

Rhodenne Chand, from Finchley Road in Kingstanding, posted 32 tweets in the space of a few days in the wake of the Manchester Arena terror attack last May.

Some of the messages encouraged violence against Muslims and for mosques to be attacked − and in one Chand claimed he wanted to “slit a Muslim’s throat”.

A member of the public reported the twitter rant to police fearing the 31-year-old might carry through on his threats.

Chand was arrested on 17 June last year, admitted issuing the messages and said he felt disgusted at himself for writing the posts.

Rhodenne Chand from Finchley Road in Kingstanding has been convicted of stirring racial and religious hatred on Twitter, including the incitement of violence towards MuslimsWest Midlands Police
Rhodenne Chand from Finchley Road in Kingstanding has been convicted of stirring racial and religious hatred on Twitter, including the incitement of violence towards Muslims

He told officers he was “venting” in the aftermath of the Manchester and London Borough Market terror attacks and had stopped using Twitter.

However, a specialist prosecutor assessed the case and determined the posts showed intent to stir up racial and religious hatred and that such “violent rhetoric can cause considerable harm once it is in the public domain”.

Chand was charged with publishing threatening, abusive or insulting material intended to stir up racial hatred.

He admitted the offence and appeared at Birmingham Crown Court today (25 June) where he was jailed for 20 months.

Rangzeb Hussain
According to Tell MAMA, “far-right, nativist hate speech about Muslims and Islam online is being normalised”, with the “majority of cases reported to Tell MAMA… concerned hate speech, harassment and bullying on Facebook and Twitter.”

West Midlands Police Superintendent Mat Shaer is working closely with Tell Mama and the Association of Muslim Police to ensure the force’s approach to hate crime continues to improve.

He added: “This case saw the sustained release of offensive, threatening material aimed at Muslim and Pakistani communities − it left people fearing some of the threats could be carried out by him or his twitter followers.

“The law is careful to try and not penalise expression of opinion, even in strong and possibly offensive terms. But Chand’s tweets were a much baser expression of animosity towards a section of society and were totally unacceptable.

“We take hate crime very seriously and anyone found to be stirring up hatred on the grounds of race, religion, sexuality, or disability could find themselves in court and facing a criminal conviction.

“Court outcomes like this are important in order to reassure communities of our willingness to make progress in the way we tackle hate crime matches how proud we are to police such a diverse region.”

Find out more about reporting hate crimes to West Midlands Police here.

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