Nun accused of religious harassment
Friday, 15th December 2006
A nun was convicted of religious harassment after ranting against 'terrorist' Muslims in the middle of London's busy Oxford Street.
Sister Ruth Augustus, 66, was fined £200 after she shouted at two women in full robes and veils "you're probably terrorists, get back to your own country".Later she told cops who arrested her they should go back to Iraq and have their heads chopped off.City of Westminster Magistrates Court heard how trouble flared when Augustus, a missionary who has worked with prostitutes in the developing world, was handing out prayer leaflets outside Debenhams department store on Easter Tuesday.When people of Muslim appearance passed she called out "Jesus loves Muslims," but two ladies in traditional dress took offence.Fellow leafleter, Tony Rollins, told the court: "The ladies answered back and told her shut her stupid mouth."Sister Ruth said to them 'you're probably terrorists, get back to your own country'. They gave her a long, hard stare before walking away."I was cringing at what she said. It made me feel very uneasy."
WPC Natasha Walker said she heard a 'commotion' outside the shop and went to investigate.The officer said: "I heard someone shouting 'terrorists, terrorists' more than once. It's busy on Oxford Street, so she must have been shouting really loud."I turned round and noticed there were a group of people standing outside Debenhams. Sister Augustus was shouting 'terrorists' repeatedly and other things about Muslims."I asked her to stop, but she refused. She said 'I will not stop, I'm a nun'."Because she refused to stop I arrested her. She said 'You're not arresting me, I'm a nun. It's a waste of tax payers' money. You're arresting me because you're a Muslim.'"WPC Walker called for for colleagues to help bundle the 'agitated and aggressive' into the back of the police van.WPC Keeley Pemberton said when she arrived she heard Augustus shouting at PC Walker "Take your dirty hands off me, you're a Muslim."After a night in police cells Augustus was bailed to return to Marylebone Police Station in June, but when her solicitor didn't show, she launched into another tirade, it was said.She called the two officers morons, referred to one as 'WPC Muslim Walker', and shouted in the public waiting area "This is a Muslim country full of terrorists," the court heard.WPC Pemberton said Augustus became increasingly 'agitated and abusive'.She said: "I asked her to be quiet and she shouted 'Go back to Iraq' and was pointing at WPC Walker. She said it very aggressively."Then she looked at me and said 'You should go with her and both of you will get your heads chopped off'."WPC Walker said: "She said to me 'you should go back to Iraq where you belong, where all the terrorists are. You are likely to be beheaded. You deserve it'."When she was arrested again she ranted at officers "You're all morons, especially that Muslim - she's a chimpanzee and she needs to go back to the zoo with the other chimpanzees," WPC Pemberton said.
Augustus, who represented herself after sacking her lawyer early in the proceedings, was frequently told to be quiet as she heckled the witnesses.While giving evidence, she insisted on wearing a large placard with a picture of Jesus on it round her neck.She claimed she had in fact suggested to the officers that they should stop wasting time on her and instead go out and catch paedophiles and rapists, or go out to Iraq to help our troops fight terrorists.Augustus accused police of "religious bigotry and hatred" and claimed she was handled roughly, locked in a cell when she was ill, and strip-searched in the street.She said: "I was responding to extreme provocation. The police were abusing me and were acting in a most satanic, brutal and unprofessional manner. I felt entitled to call them chimpanzees because that is how they were behaving."The reference to beheading she said was in reference to the catholic missionary Margaret Hassan, who was kidnapped and murdered by insurgents.Augustus, of Kensington, was found guilty of two charges of religiously aggravated harassment.District Judge Emma Arbuthnot told her: "I have no doubt at all that Sister Augustus's behaviour amounted to religiously aggravated harassment."This was extremely upsetting and rude behaviour which harassed and alarmed not just the officers but others who were around at the time."It is clear from her behaviour today that she was an extremely difficult defendant to deal with. The officers I'm sure dealt with her as best they could and cannot be criticised."She was fined a total of £200 plus £40 court costs. The judge told the pensioner: "By rights you should pay compensation but I'm not going to make you as you are not in a position to pay any more."
Augustus replied: "It's a disgrace. If this is British justice, I'm going back to Africa. They are more civilised there." She vowed to appeal against her conviction in the highest court
loooooooooool that last sentance was a killer for me 'if this is british justice then im going back to Africa' ignoring the fact that Africa is full of Muslims, nuns always come across as being sweet and calm, evidently not this one, although i'm not going to fall into the same trap she did and tarnish every one with the same brush..
the Muslim ladies shouldnt have told her to shut up though, that was wrong, i would have told her 'i know, Jesus loves all muslims, just as we love him'...