A doorman for MacDonald’s in Luton town centre “froze” in shock after receiving racist abuse from a drunken lout in the early hours of the morning.
Uwais Akhtar, 21, was working outside the George Street restaurant at around 5am on December 18 when he was approached by 44-year-old Anthony O’Farrell.
O’Farrell, of Clophill Road, Silsoe, had been attending a charity event in Dunstable earlier in the evening and was noticeably drunk.
Without warning, conservatory sales manager O’Farrell walked towards Mr Akhtar and called him a “Muslim c**t”.
Mr Akhtar told Luton News: “Out of nowhere, he called me a Muslim c**t. I was so shocked at this and didn’t know how to respond. I started to feel sick and disgusted.”
O’Farrell followed this insult a few seconds later by calling the young man a “terrorist”.
Mr Akhtar said: “At this point I told him to walk away. He refused, so I put my radio on and called it in to the police. He then walked off, the council cctv followed him up the street and he was arrested.
“What was done that day was not right. I mean, is it a crime to be a Muslim?”
After being arrested, police also found cannabis in O’Farrell’s pocket. He was charged with religiously aggravated harrassment as well as possession of a class B drug.
Appearing at Luton Magistrates Court last week, O’Farrell pleaded guilty to the charges.
His defence said that he was “ashamed” at having expressed those views, and wished to write a letter to apologise to Mr Akhtar.
In addition to a fine and compensation, Magistrates wished to impose unpaid work or a curfew but after consultation with the probation service, it was judged neither was appropriate due to dad-of-one O’Farrell’s work and childcare committments.
Because of this, Magistrates imposed a larger fine and O’Farrell received total costs of £2,017.
On behalf of Beds Police, Sgt James Hart said: “This was an extremely distressing incident for the 21-year-old victim, which has made him fearful of further attacks. We are really pleased with the sentencing which sends out a strong message to others that Beds Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts adopt a zero tolerance approach to this type of behaviour.
“Hate crimes are based on ignorance, prejudice, discrimination and have no place in our society, as everyone has the right to live free from fear or harassment.
“We hope this case will encourage others who have experienced Islamophobia or other hate crimes to come forward and report them.”
Anyone who has experienced similar abuse contact police on 101.