From foul mouth rants to leaflets drops - these are just some of the Preston incidents in which race hate was alleged

Racist hate crime continues to increase year-on-year in Lancashire, with more than 1,500 incidents reported in 2018.

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 1:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st March 2019, 2:53 pm
Pav Akhtar, 40, a governor at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, was among a number of recipients of alleged hate mail delivered to Muslim homes in Blackpool Road, Preston in 2018.

The figures, published by the Home Office, also revealed that a third of all racist hate crimes investigated by Lancashire Police did not result in a suspect being identified or charged.

As hate crime continues to plague Lancashire's communities, we take a look at recent incidents which have put racism in the spotlight.

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Pav Akhtar, 40, a governor at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, was among a number of recipients of alleged hate mail delivered to Muslim homes in Blackpool Road, Preston in 2018.

Preston taxi driver arrested for 'obscene' hate rant video

On December 19, 2018, a racist hate-rant video surfaced online in which a Muslim taxi driver from Preston allegedly threatened to assault Muslim converts to Christianity.

The obscene video soon went viral and was reported to Lancashire Police by members of the public who said they had been concerned by the man's 'extremist views'.

The 41-year-old hackney carriage driver was arrested the same day under suspicion of religiously aggravated harassment.

The 41-year-old hackney carriage driver, from Preston, was arrested on Wednesday, December 19 after a video posted online threatened to assault Muslim converts to Christianity.

He was released on bail "pending further investigation" until Wednesday, January 16. His bail was then further extended until Sunday, March 10.

But on Monday, March 18, following a three-month investigation into the alleged hate crime, Lancashire Police confirmed that the man had been released without charge, pending further investigation.

Following his arrest, more than 2,000 people signed a petition calling for his licence to be permanently revoked by Preston City Council.

On Wednesday, January 9, the driver handed in his hackney carriage licence after he was summoned before Preston City Council's Taxi and Miscellaneous Committee for review.

Ammad Chaubhar and other Preston taxi drivers spoke out against racist yobs hurling stones at their cabs in 2018.

He later released a second video in which he apologised for his offensive comments.

Anti-Islam leaflets delivered to Muslim homes in Preston

On October 9, 2018, a number of Muslim families in the Blackpool Road area of Preston received hand-delivered leaflets ridiculing their religion.

Lancashire Police confirmed that they would investigate whether a hate crime had been committed.

Pav Akhtar, 40, a governor at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, was among the recipients of the alleged hate mail.

He said: “We had a hand delivered note addressed to us directly.

“What was most concerning for us is that each note was a handwritten letter sent to specific households.

“It was sent only to Asian people in the neighbourhood. It was targeted especially to Asian Muslim families.

"None of our white neighbours received it and our Sikh neighbours also didn’t get them.

“We were purposefully targeted.”

The leaflet featured an mocking illustration of a man wearing a headscarf and acting in a threatening manner. A caption read: “Islam is the second largest and fastest growing religion in America… and this is why you should fear it.”

Mr Akhtar said the leaflet was "a really hateful, distorted narrative of Islam that is feeding the views of far right extremism."

Stone-throwing yobs target Muslim taxi drivers

In 2017, Muslim taxi drivers in Preston reported that gangs of youths had been throwing stones at their cabs and shouting racist abuse at them.

Ammad Chaubhary, 40, who works for AAA Taxis in Corporation Street, Preston, decided to speak out after the windshield of his cab was smashed twice within two weeks.

He said he had reported the racist incidents to police but he said officers had not arrived in time to catch the youths, who were aged between eight and 16.

“We have to stop the kids and obviously we need police help but they aren’t that interested", said Ammad.

“If we call them they’ll be delayed by half an hour or an hour. The kids aren’t going to wait around, they just throw the stones, call us racist names and run away.”

“Before it was just in one area. Now its in two or three areas. Its happening every single day now, especially in New Hall Lane in the evenings."

He said taxi drivers had also faced racist abuse in the Ashton, Deepdale, Ribbleton, Brookfield, Grange and Ingol areas of Preston.

“We are scared to go to those areas now because we know these things happen.

"We have to go and pick up our customers but our attention isn’t 100 per cent on the road, because we're so worried about the groups of kids causing us problems.”

What is hate crime?

Hate crime is defined as "Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgendered or perceived to be transgender."