Five Muslims who distributed leaflets calling for gay people to be executed have appeared in court accused of inciting hatred.
One leaflet said the death penalty had been passed against all homosexuals and showed a mannequin hanging from a noose.
Another showed a figure burning in a lake of fire with a list of punishments for homosexual acts.
The five defendants, all from Derby, are the first to be prosecuted under new laws banning the stirring up of hatred due to sexual orientation.
Ihjaz Ali, 42, Razwan Javed, 28, Kabir Ahmed, 28, Umar Javed, 38, and Mehboob Hussain, 44, were arrested following complaints about leaflets distributed in Derby before a gay pride parade in July 2010.
The material was handed out in the street as well as posted through letterboxes.
The first, called Death Penalty?, claimed that Allah permitted the destruction of gay people and ‘the only question is how it should be carried out’.
The second, called Turn or Burn, featured the figure in a blazing lake with the warning that the decriminalisation of homosexuality was ‘the root of all problems’.
A third, GAY – God Abhors You –told of severe punishment for homosexuals.
Bobbie Cheema, prosecuting, told Derby Crown Court the pamphlets were threatening, offensive, frightening and nasty and had been ‘designed to stir up hatred and hostility against homosexual people’.
Gay men who received the leaflets told the court they feared they had been personally targeted.
One witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he was handed one leaflet in person and received three more in the post.
‘Being a gay man, I thought it was meant for me,’ he said. ‘I felt like I was being targeted. I thought it meant I was going to be burned or something like that.’
Another, who received two of the leaflets in the post, said: ‘I felt threatened. I wondered whether I would be getting a flaming rag through my letter box.’
The jury heard that in the weeks before the gay pride parade, Ihjaz Ali approached police about staging a protest against it.
Ali, who the prosecution say organised the distribution of the leaflets, showed officers a list of slogans intended for use on placards and literature. The slogans included ‘paedo gays, you will pay’, ‘turn forever or burn forever’ and ‘Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve’.
His request was refused and he was later arrested on the back of the welter of public complaints about the leaflets.
Ali allegedly told the officers who questioned him that it was his duty to express laws laid down by Allah.
Miss Cheema told the jury: ‘These five defendants were part of a small group who distributed horrible, threatening literature, with quotations from religious sources and pictures, which were designed to stir up hostile feelings against homosexual people.’
The court heard that all five defendants accept they distributed the leaflets but deny charges of intending to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation under laws introduced in March 2010.
The maximum penalty for the offences is seven years in jail.
Ali faces four charges while Hussain and Umar Javed are charged with two counts each. Razwan Javed and Ahmed are charged with one count each.
The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, continues.