Four Muslim men were jailed today after they carried out a brutal attack on an RE teacher because they did not approve of him teaching religious studies to Muslim girls.
Gary Smith, 38, received 'appalling injuries' after he was set upon by the gang as he walked to work at Central Foundation Girls' School in Bow, east London, on July 12 last year.
Armed with a metal rod and a brick, they punched, kicked and attacked Mr Smith, leaving him unconscious and covered in blood on the pavement in Burdett Road, Tower Hamlets.
Simon Alam, 19, of Whitechapel, Azad Hussain, 26, of Wapping, Sheikh Rashid, 27, of Shadwell, and Akmol Hussein, 26, of Bethnal Green, all in east London, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent earlier this year.
Sentencing them at east London's Snaresbrook Crown Court, Judge John Hand QC said he believed they all remained a danger to the public due to their extreme religious beliefs.
Addressing the defendants one by one, he said: 'Your belief is that you carried out a duty to your God and you did so with no mercy.'
'If you think that people around you in society present an insult or threat to God then you will not hesitate in attacking again in the way that you have acted.'
Vicious attack: Azad Hussain, 26, and 26-year-old Akmol Hussein were deemed ringleaders of the attack on Gary Smith in Tower Hamlets, east London
Brutal: Sheikh Rashid was given four years in jail and Simon Alam to five
After hearing how Mr Smith suffered multiple injuries, including lacerations and bruising all over his body, has a permanent 12cm long deep scar across his left cheek, and how the whole of the facial part of his skull was broken, he said: 'Literally, this man had his face smashed in.'
The court heard how the men were only caught out because Akmol Hussein's car was being bugged on an unrelated matter.
On the surveillance tape they were heard to plan the attack and it was also clear that they had lain in wait for Mr Smith as he walked to school on other mornings as they spoke of how they had been unsuccessful on other occasions.
Hussein, who had a niece at the school, was heard to say: 'He's mocking us and he's putting thoughts in people's minds.
'How can somebody take a job to teach Islam when he's not even a Muslim himself?'
He was also recorded as saying that he did not care if he had to go to prison over the attack as he was doing it for the sake of Allah.
Hindering the police: Badruzzah Uddin, 24, was jailed for two years after admitting to hiding the gang's bloodstained clothing
The court heard that the men had admitted their motivation behind the attack was their religious belief.
None of them other than Hussein had a connection with the school, which teaches pupils of mainly Bangladeshi origin.
Prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse said of Mr Smith: 'He was targeted as the victim of this attack quite simply because of his position as head of religious studies at the school.
'The defendants held very strong religious beliefs and they chose him because they did not approve of his teaching.'
Mr Smith, who had been head of religious studies at the school for eight years, was 'by all accounts an able, enthusiastic and popular teacher'.
He followed the national curriculum by teaching his pupils all six of the main religions along with ethical issues such as abortion and euthanasia, the court heard.
Some of the defendants had also claimed the reason behind the attack was because of rumours that he had raped a girl at the school, but this was found to be 'utterly without foundation and a complete mistake' when it was investigated.
Judge Hand said that, if the defendants had a real issue with Mr Smith's lessons, they should have gone about dealing with it in other ways.
He said: 'If you do not approve of particular teaching then recourse can be had with the employer, with the local education authority, or the school governors, or to the headteacher.
'There are no doubt other avenues by which dissatisfaction with teaching can be addressed.'
Mr Smith was found lying on the pavement by two passers-by following the attack just after 8am, and was rushed to hospital, where he did not regain consciousness for two days.
His injuries have left him unable to be the active and healthy man he once was and he has had to give up his passion for martial arts.
The court heard that he cannot remember anything of the assault, and has problems with his memory now which affects his abilities as a teacher.
He suffers from depression and anxiety and 'is unable to enjoy life and lives in constant fear of being attacked again', the judge said.
He said he deemed Akmol Hussein, a social worker and self- employed builder, and Azad Hussain, a finance worker, to have played the greatest role in the planning and execution of the attack and sentenced them each to an indeterminate sentence with a minimum of five years.
Student Alam was told he must serve a minimum of five years in prison before being released on licence for a further five years, while bus driver Rashid was handed a four-year sentence with a further five years on licence.
A fifth defendant, Badruzzuha Uddin, 24, also of Shadwell, was also jailed for two years after previously admitting a charge of assisting an offender after he hid the men's bloodstained clothes.
For a far more extensive representation of muslim violence worldwide go to the Religion of Peace website