Liverpool Crown Court heard that Amin Mohmed, 24, and Mohamed Patel, 20, set upon victim Gary Bohanna when he revealed he was a Christian. A laughing Faruq Patel, 19, who was not convicted of a racial or religious motive, then filmed Mohmed punching St. Helens councillor Paul Lynch to the ground as his terrified girlfriend tried to protect him.
Judge Recorder Louise Brandon said the attacks, which took place last year, were “a disgraceful and sustained campaign of violence carried out on the streets of this city.”
Paul Treble, prosecuting, said Edris Nosrati, himself a Muslim, spotted two of the gang attacking a man in Bold Street at around 3.30am. Nosrati was concerned because one of them was using “racist language,” he said.
The attackers approached Nosrati and asked whether he was Muslim, Treble said. When they discovered he was, they said “you can go,” but when he tried to stop them attacking another man, one replied: “It’s none of your business.”
Nosrati then followed the gang to Renshaw Street, the court heard, where Bohanna was asked: “What are you?”
The victim was confused, but then when one of them said “I’m a Muslim, what are you?” he answered “I’m a Christian.”
According to the Liverpool Echo, they shouted “why aren’t you a Muslim?” at Bohanna before punching him twice, breaking his glasses and causing a 2cm (0.8in) cut above his left eye.
They then allegedly encountered Lynch, Labour councillor for Moss Bank, and his girlfriend, Jill Newton. Lynch suffered bruising and bleeding to his eyes.
Footage taken by Faruq shows Mohmed punching Lynch. No racist comments were used, but Faruq can be heard laughing as the victim fell.
Counterterrorism officers raided the three men’s homes in Bolton following the incident on March 20 last year.
Mohmed initially denied the assaults and suggested they had first been racially abused by other men. Faruq told officers people called him and his friends “dirty p***s” and they retaliated.
Sarah Johnston, defending Mohmed, said it appeared the group was racially abused but that was not an excuse.
“He has brought not only shame and embarrassment but also distress to his family.
“The Counter Terrorism Unit became involved in an investigation and the defendants’ family homes were turned upside down by police.”
Brandon said the group targeted innocent men in “violent and senseless attacks.” She said Mohmed and Mohammed Patel’s punching and kicking of Bohanna was aggravated by “hostility based on his religion.”
Mohmed was jailed for 42 weeks. Mohammed and Faruq Patel received 42 and 18 weeks respectively in a young offenders’ institution.