x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Briton accused of insulting Islam cleared by third UAE appeals court

A British engineer accused of insulting Islam by asking "when will we finish the damn mosques" during a municipality meeting as been cleared by the third Appeals Court to look at his case.

ABU DHABI // A British engineer accused of insulting Islamic monuments by asking “when are we going to finish the damn mosques?” in a municipality meeting has been cleared by the third Appeals Court to look into his case.

The court ruled “damn” had many connotations in English and he did not use it as an insult, but as an expression “common in the environment he comes from”.

J?M, director of parks and recreation at the municipality, was charged after a colleague reported him for his outburst in a June 2011 meeting.

The Court of First Instance convicted him, sentencing him to a month in prison and he appealed unsuccessfully.

He said the words were not meant as an insult and that he was concerned with the time the project was taking.

On his second trip to the Appeals Court his penalty was changed to a Dh5,000 fine.

He again appealed to the Court of Cassation, which sent him back for the third hearing.

hdajani@thenational.ae