LONDON — Police have arrested six people on suspicion of inciting racial hatred over a YouTube video apparently showing them setting fire to copies of the Koran, a spokesman said Thursday.
Northumbria Police said that they had detained two men on September 15 and four more on Wednesday, adding that all of them had been bailed pending further inquiries.
“The arrests followed the burning of what are believed to have been two Korans in Gateshead on September 11,” a spokesman said, referring to a town in the Newcastle conurbation.
“The incident was recorded and a video placed on the Internet.”
The YouTube video shows a group of masked men shouting “September 11, International Burn a Koran Day” and “This is for the boys in Afghanistan” before pouring petrol on what they claim are two copies of Islam’s holy book.
They then cheer and chant slogans as the books burst into flames, before kicking them.
The police force and the local authority issued a joint statement saying that the “kind of behavior displayed in this video is not at all representative of our community as a whole.
“Our community is one of mutual respect and we continue to work together with community leaders, residents and people of all faiths and beliefs to maintain good community relations.”
The arrests come less than two weeks after a pastor in the US state of Florida canceled plans to burn a pile of Korans to mark the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Terry Jones triggered a storm of international outrage with the proposal by tiny Dove World Outreach Center for an “International Burn a Koran Day”, but relented under pressure from the White House.
The following video was posted to YouTube by user JomtienCafe on Sept. 23, 2010. It has been flagged with an “offensive content” warning.