LOYALIST campaigner Willie Frazer has appeared at Belfast’s Laganside court last Friday dressed as radical Muslim cleric Abu Hanza.
The 53-year-old who had earlier revealed to the Belfast Telegraph that he would dress as Abu Hanza, arrived at the court wearing a black robe, skullcap, a fake beard, an eye-patch and a hook attached to one of his hands.
Mr Frazer dressed as the radical one-handed Muslim cleric – who was deported from the UK to face charges related to terrorism in the US – in protest at being charged under legislation that, he claims, was brought in to deal with militant Islamic preachers.
He was supported by leading flag protesters Jim Dowson and Jamie Bryson, who appeared outside court in a costume believed to be mimicking Jon Bon Jovi.
The Co Armagh native faces charges of encouraging offences by an address to union flag demonstrators in January.
He is also facing three charges of taking part in an un-notified public procession, and further charges of obstructing traffic in a public place and possession of a prohibited weapon.
Prosecutors confirmed today that the case against him will proceed summarily, rather than by indictment to the Crown Court.
His lawyers must state whether Mr Frazer will contest the charges within one week.
Mr Frazer sought to justify dressing as Abu Hanza by questioning the Serious Crime Act 2007, under which he is charged.
He said: “This law was brought in to deal with extreme creatures of hate, Muslim creatures who look to behead British soldiers, and I get charged with it.”
Last week, he spoke to the Belfast Telegraph ahead of his court appearance and said: “That law was brought in to deal with Muslim extremists in the UK, and the first person to be charged with it is myself – a man who has never had a parking ticket in his life.”
He was released today on continuing bail by District Judge Fiona Bagnall, and it was stated that his bail conditions are to be changed in order for him to attend a parade in Belfast this weekend.