UK: Court sets trial date for anti-Islam preacher

2nd Oct 2015
UK: Court sets trial date for anti-Islam preacher
LONDON (AA) – The trial of an evangelical pastor from Northern Ireland who derided Islam has been set for December.

James McConnell, 78, made the anti-Islam and anti-Muslim remarks in his sermon at a Belfast church last year during which he said that he did not trust Muslims and described Islam as “satanic” among a host of other offensive terms.

Hundreds of Christian supporters attended the Belfast court where McConnell’s hearing took place on Thursday, carrying banners that read “Christianity under persecution” and “civil and religious liberty for all”.

The pastor was initially defended by Peter Robinson, Northern Ireland’s First Minister, who told the Irish News that it was “the duty of any Christian preacher to denounce false doctrine”.

But Robinson later visited the Belfast Islamic Centre to apologize for his own remarks.

McConnell is to be tried under British laws that outlaw grossly offensive messages over the internet.

He will stand trial on December 14.

The European Commission wants EU member states to penalize hate speech, as verbal and physical violence against Muslims are on the rise in Europe.

A Eurobarometer public opinion survey reported on Thursday that Muslims suffer from the lowest levels of social acceptance among all religious groups.

 
Author: Michael Sercan Daventry
[Photo: Belfast Magistrates Court.  © Copyright Joseph Mischyshyn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence]

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