Police on Wednesday arrested a taxi driver who recorded an obscene video threatening to violently rape anyone who converts from Islam to Christianity.
The 41-year-old cabbie from Preston, Lancashire, England, wasn't immediately identified by authorities, but is facing a charge of "religiously aggravated harassment."
The video, posted on social media December 17, shows the taxi driver sitting in a car with another man as he uses the F-word constantly, blaring comments such as:
"Any motherfucker [who] wants to convert to Christianity, we’re both gonna fuck you up the ass."
"Why are you fucking converting for, you motherfuckers?"
"Why would you want to become a Christian?"
The video was reportedly a response to another Muslim man who had broadcast his baptism and conversion to Christianity on Facebook, according to the Lancashire Evening Post.
A local woman who reported the video to authorities said she feared for the public’s safety, and viewed the remarks as a hate crime:
"After seeing that video, it frightens me now to identify myself as a Christian to someone that I don’t know," she told the Post. "It’s sad that I have to hide my religion. This man’s dangerous views on something so normal like people changing religions is unacceptable.
"His threats to sexually assault those who convert to Christianity is the heart of hate speech. To me, he's displaying extremist tendencies and is encouraging violence. I’m genuinely concerned for the welfare of the public who may not be aware of his extreme views."
Upon learning of the threats, Gareth Fairhurst remarked online: "Disgusting and vile … Get him off the streets."
A police spokesman told the paper:
"As soon as this video came to our attention we launched an investigation and we have today arrested a 41-year-old man from Preston on suspicion of religiously aggravated harassment. He remains in custody and our investigation's on-going.
"We recognize the distress the comments have caused to a number of people and we hope they're reassured by the action we've taken. We're committed to tackling all crime motivated by hate and prejudice and we'd urge anyone who's been a victim of a hate crime to have the confidence to come forward and report it to police. Victims will always be dealt with professionally and sympathetically."
The taxi driver actually provided a follow-up video to the newspaper, apologizing profusely for his original obscene broadcast, saying it was intended to be "banter between mates."
In his video apology, he stated:
"I’ve come to realize that I made several obnoxious, crude comments that I shouldn’t have made. I’m really sorry for the offense caused."