THE courts are failing to properly deal with a "growing trend" in Islamophobia, said the head of the city's Muslim Welfare Association after a man called takeaway staff "paedophiles" during a drunken tirade.

Mohammed Iqbal, also general secretary of the Tallow Hill mosque, said Ravdeep Nangle's case was an example of hate crime which needs "harsher punishment".

He said the sentence of a community order and compensation was "inadequate" and believes offences of this nature are "not taken seriously".

"Harsher punishment will deter future offenders and also may help the victims to open more freely to discuss and report Islamophobia hate crime," added Mr Iqbal.

Nangle also challenged one Shakeeys employee to fight him outside due to his religion – all just weeks after being released from prison for crashing head-on into a taxi while drunk.

The 43-year-old entered the Angel Street eatery at midnight on April 22 and “banged on the counter with his fist” before challenging worker Muhammad Umar to a fight, a court heard last week.

Shafquat Reaz, prosecutor, said the row had started because “they were all Muslim” while the defendant is a Sikh.

When Mr Umar refused to come out from behind the counter, the defendant went into nearby Best Kebab House where he got into a further racially-fuelled altercation.

Nangle told Abdil Yureki the staff in Shakeeys are all “Muslim paedophiles” before becoming “aggressive” and “shouted at him: ‘You are a terrorist!’” before leaving, said Mr Reaz.

Mark Turnbull, defending, said alcohol “seems to play a part” in his client’s offending history and that in this case it “played a significant part”.

The solicitor said Nangle, of Elkstone Close, Worcester, had initially got into disputes in the two restaurants about how he was going to pay for food.

He went on to say, he was under the wrong impression he knew some of the Shakeeys staff from his time at Sixth Form, and that there had been previous issues between them.

Mr Turnbull said the loss of his client’s father a few years ago had “deeply affected him” as they were very close.

Nangle has also recently got out of an unstable romantic relationship which has left him homeless and “sofa surfing”, the court heard.

“He struggles with feelings of depression and isolation,” said Mr Turnbull.

“[He has periods of] feeling low and down and the pattern repeats itself.”

He said his client often goes through “bad times” in which he “quite significantly” turns to alcohol, adding that, “alcohol played a very definite part in this incident.”

Referring to the Shakeeys incident, Mr Turnbull argued that Nangle and Mr Umar were “never in close proximity” and there was “no direct” action taken by the defendant.

He said, having come out of prison on January 2 he has struggled to get work but has now been offered employment as a duty manager at a DIY store.

Nangle appeared in court previously on November 22 last year after driving the wrong way down St Nicholas Street before hitting a taxi coming the other way.

He had been out drinking with a friend and fled the scene following the crash, only to return an hour later when he was arrested.

Mr Turnbull also represented Nangle at that hearing and said the incident took place on his dad’s birthday.

He was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison and disqualified from driving for five years.

When appearing at Worcester Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, Nangle accepted charges of threatening behaviour with intent to cause a person to believe immediate unlawful violence would be used, and racially or religiously aggravated harassment.

He was given a 15-month community order, which includes 15 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and a six-month alcohol treatment course.

He must also do 100 hours of unpaid work and pay each of the victims £100 compensation as well as £185 in court costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

Mr Iqbal said the victims in many recent Islamophobic cases are people "working in frontline customer services, either in food trade or the late-night taxi trade".

"Very few cases get reported and the majority of the time, especially in the taxi trade, the victims sometime choose to ignore and not report.

"This is a big problem as statistics will not justify these incidents in hate crime reports and therefore will have shortcomings in information."

Mr Iqbal believes some of the reasons why this type of hate crime is so "underreported" include victims believing it "will be a waste of time" and "nothing will be done by the police".

"Moving forward, in my opinion, we should be educating about Islamophobia and adopting the APPG (the All-Party Parliamentary Group) on the working definition of Islamophobia.

"We should also look into tackling the root causes of this growing cancerous problem and where this problem stems from."

He said more should also be done at policing hate crimes on social media platforms which he believes is a "growing concern as offenders find it easier to hide behind false identities to spew vile abuse".

"These social media companies or forums have the responsibility to act swiftly by identifying offenders and reporting to the authorities rather than just deleting posts.

"We all have the right to live freely from any form of prejudice. We can achieve this by working together to build a stronger, prosperous, educated, safer and tolerant community by respecting each other and who we are."