SDL supporter who threatened arson attack on Edinburgh Central Mosque is fined and told to read a book

A young man who sent an email threatening to burn an Edinburgh mosque ‘to the ground’ has been fined and told to read up on history by a sheriff.

Andrew Steele, 21, sent the message to an office manager at the Scottish Parliament in the wake of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby. It referred to a meeting of the Unite Against Facism movement at Edinburgh’s Central Mosque and included a comment of his that it should be ‘burned to the f****** ground’.

Fiscal Depute, Arlene Shaw, told the sheriff court that the email showed a screenshot photo of a Scottish Defence League Facebook page which contained several threats in relation to the meeting at the mosque the following day including his comment.

When interviewed, Steele admitted posting the remark saying it was because of the death of Lee Rigby. He had, however, told the police “that on reflection, he did not hold that view”. Defence solicitor, David Storrie, told Sheriff James Scott that his client who had no previous convictions had “friends from all walks of life, all races and all religions”. The lawyer added that was no excuse for what had been done.

Sheriff Scott told Steele his actions had been “totally unacceptable” and fined him £200. As Steele was about to leave the dock, Sheriff Scott told him: “Go to a library and get a book, it is now out of print, called ‘Who Are The Scots?’ They are from all over the world”.

Edinburgh Evening News, 2 July 2014

As the report notes, Steele was not the only Scottish Defence League supporter to propose an arson attack on Edinburgh Central Mosque in retaliation for the UAF meeting. Earlier this year Derek Phin of Aberdeen admitted posting a call on Facebook to “burn the mosque down when the meeting is ongoing”. He received the more appropriate sentence of a year in prison.