By Al Webb
Religion News Service
LONDON (RNS) A British former soldier has been jailed for burning a copy of the Quran in front of shoppers in England -- an act the judge described as "theatrical bigotry."
Andrew Ryan was sentenced to 70 days for setting fire to the Islamic holy book on Jan. 19 in Carlisle with a cigarette lighter after his first attempt with matches failed.
The 22-year-old ex-soldier's lawyer, Margaret Payne, said his fury was "directed toward radical Islam such as the burning of poppies and flags."
As he was led away to a cell on Monday (April 18), Ryan yelled, "What about burning poppies?"
Ryan was referring to a Muslim extremist who was convicted and fined for setting fire to a poppy -- a symbol of Britain's admiration for its war dead -- during an Armistice Day observance in November 2010.
But Magistrates Court Judge Gerald Chalk told Ryan, "You went out to cause maximum publicity and to cause distress."
Noting the defendant's past record of six public disorder convictions, he added, "You are a man who has a history of violence and disorderly conduct."
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place