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‘Religious bigot’ who trolled Humza Yousaf over Paris attacks brought to justice

Humza Yousaf was trolled after the Paris attacks

A troll who racially abused justice secretary Humza Yousaf on Twitter was branded a ‘narrow-minded religious bigot’ by a sheriff.

Stuart Smith, 64, claimed the SNP MSP supported “Muslim killers” and raised money for their families.

The message was sent on November 14 2015, the day after the Paris terror attack and was in response to a screenshot of Mr Yousaf’s #PrayForParis tweet.

Smith tweeted: “Humza Yousaf, good Scots name I am sure he is 90% backing muslim killers. Be having a whip round for terrorist families soon.”

Smith was found guilty of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner, aggravated by religious prejudice, after a trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court last November.

His sentencing was put off on a number of occasions and Smith had a warrant for his arrest granted in April.

‘Prejudice has no place in Scotland’

On Monday, Sheriff Sean Murphy QC tagged Smith for six months to keep him indoors between 7pm and 7am.

PARIS, FRANCE – Nov 29, 2015: Flowers near theater Le Bataclan in tribute to victims of the Nov. 13, 2015 terrorist attack in Paris; Shutterstock

The sheriff said: “You misused Twitter to post a grossly offensive message containing derogatory remarks about Islam through your comments about a person of that faith who held – and holds – a prominent place in Scottish life.

“Your behaviour was nothing less than an exhibition of narrow-minded religious bigotry.

“Prejudice of this kind has no place in modern Scotland in the 21st century and you should be ashamed of yourself.

“I find it impossible to understand why people like you, sitting alone somewhere with access to social media, think it is acceptable to transmit to the rest of the world hateful messages without having to look in the face the people that you are talking to or talking about.

“That is a form of moral cowardice.”

‘Hurtful and stressful’

During the trial, Mr Yousaf said he saw on his profile page, the tweet from a ‘Stuart Ben Smith’, which included the word ‘Kafir’ in Arabic script.

He stated the word meant “non-believer” and was a “derogatory comment” towards Muslims.

Mr Yousaf stated he had been “singled out because of his faith.”

He said: “I spent the hours before, like everyone else, shocked at the events and the atrocities in Paris.

“I did nothing but send out a public message supporting the victims

“I was on radio and media asserting my solidarity with the victims.

A man views floral tributes to the victims of the terrorist attacks, which took place in Paris, in Trafalgar Square, London. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

“It is unacceptable (to say) that I would be supporting these terrorists and collecting funds for them, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

“To make that suggestion is hurtful and stressful to me.

“There is only one reason why it was directed at me and none of my other colleagues were treated in a similar way.

“It’s because of my faith – my Muslim faith.”

Mr Yousaf stated he could be found very easily and have his movements “telegraphed” by “keyboard warriors.”

He said: “I can’t say for certain everyone is a keyboard warrior.

“One could cause me harm and that gives me fear getting a tweet from Scotland with a gun as an avatar.”

Hacking claim

Smith – a self-proclaimed “hermit” from Gretna, denied tweeting the message, even criticising its grammar.

He said: “I would have said Scottish name. I wouldn’t use the word Scots.

“I would never say it was 90%, you can’t be.

“You are either in favour or against death.”

He insisted his account had been hacked in the past, including pornography being posted without his knowledge.

Fiscal Mark Allan showed tweets posted by Smith the same day, which referenced politics and religion, including a possible next world war between the West and the Islamic faith.

He asked if Smith knew who Mr Yousaf was and he replied: “Afterwards, when police asked me.

“I didn’t recognise the name at the time.”

KEZIA DUGDALE: Islamophobia in Scotland is nothing to be proud of

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