Glenn Okafor, aged 32, has been convicted of shouting “we will wipe you out” and other antisemitic abuse, including death threats, at Jewish people in Stamford Hill in London on 4th March this year. The incident occurred at 9:00 on a Saturday morning as Jewish families made their way to synagogue, at one point even entering the front garden of a synagogue. Mr Okafor exclaimed at Jewish passersby: “F*** you Jewish people…you lot should go back to your own country”. He also added: “We will sort you out. I have friends. I’ll be back tomorrow. We will wipe you out.” In an apparent reference to a conspiracy theory that white Jews are in fact imposters and that the supposed real Jews are black, Mr Okafor shouted: “We are the real Jews”. Stamford Hill Shomrim, a Jewish volunteer neighbourhood watch patrol, assisted officers from the Metropolitan Police Service in arresting Mr Okafor and a man who was walking with him.
Mr Okafor, of West Norwood, was found guilty at Stratford Magistrates’ Court of two counts of religiously-aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress contrary to section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986, as amended. He was sentenced at Thames Magistrates’ Court to a 12-month community order with 200 unpaid hours of work. His sentence would have been 150 hours of unpaid work, but 50 hours were added following an application by the Crown Prosecution Service. He was also ordered to pay £150 to his victims and costs of £620.00 to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Chair of the bench, Danni Tate, was not persuaded by Mr Okafor’s claims that he was merely seeking to engage in “theological debate” and wanted to ask his victims “a few questions about the origin of Judaism”.
The victims had to attend court four times during the trial, and each time they were accompanied and supported by volunteers from Stamford Hill Shomrim.
Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for North London, Jan Lamping, said: “Stiffer sentences are a powerful way of sending the message that hate crime is viewed very seriously in the eyes of the law. These were unacceptable, hostile words and threats directed at worshippers intended to make them fearful of their safety. I would encourage all victims to report hate crimes so that others do not become the target of hateful abuse.”
We commend Stamford Hill Shomrim, the Metropolitan Police Service and the Crown Prosecution Service for ensuring that Mr Okafor was brought to justice, however we regret that this sentence is merely the latest in a chain of lenient punishments that will not deter antisemites.
Update: Glenn Okafor sentenced to 12 month community order & 200 unpaid hours of work, for shouting anti-semitic abuse at Jewish worshippers pic.twitter.com/eTyX6RJOUV
— Shomrim (Stamford Hill) (@Shomrim) September 29, 2017