Northern Ireland news

Man who threatened to blow up a hostel in Belfast after shouting 'kill all Muslims' has avoided jail

A man who threatened to blow up a hostel in Belfast after shouting "kill all Muslims" has avoided jail.

Sanjay Chanda was given a two-month suspended sentence for an outburst in which he also called others at the shelter "jihadis" and declared an intention to burn down all mosques.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard the 44-year-old claimed he had instead by referring to a Hindu cremation ritual.

Chanda, of no fixed abode, was convicted of threats to damage property at the Centenary House hostel.

Prosecutors described how he had become aggressive towards others using the facilities on August 21 this year.

"He called them jihadis and started shouting slogans such as 'kill as Muslims'," a lawyer said.

"He also stated that he was going to burn down all mosques and 'burn down this place'.

Chanda initially refused a request to leave in order to calm down, the court heard, but later went out for a smoke.

When staff would not let him back in he started banging on the windows, kicking the door and shouted more anti-Muslim slogans.

The prosecutor added: "He stated 'At nightfall I will blow this place up'."

District Judge Peter Magill was told Chanda had only been staying at the night shelter for two days.

Staff were said to have been left concerned, both at what he might do and also for his own safety due to the erratic behaviour and inflammatory rhetoric.

During police interviews he denied making any threats and claimed to have been misunderstood.

"He stated that he had been referring to jihadis back in India, and that when he mentioned burning he was referring to HIndu cremation after death."

Defence counsel said Chanda has lived and worked in Northern Ireland for a number of years, but also cited his client's mental health issues.

Imposing two months custody, Mr Magill suspended the term for two years.

He told the defendant: "All I can do is try to leave something hanging over you, so that you will know if you commit another offence you will be in trouble."

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