Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Muslim who praised Islamic State main witness against pastor charged with insulting Islam


Raied Al-Wazzan
As if this weren’t bad enough, Britain’s hate speech laws are being selectively applied, and hateful speech by Muslim clerics ignored. A sampling:
UK: Muslim cleric praises Charlie Hebdo jihad, says UK “enemy of Islam” — January 10, 2015
UK: Father of a teen who joined jihad in Syria believes his son was “radicalized” by imam at a mosque — July 4, 2014
UK: Muslim cleric praises Boko Haram’s kidnap of schoolgirls — May 29, 2014
UK Muslim leader: Muslims should humiliate Christians so they’ll convert to Islam — May 8, 2014
UK allows speaking tour by Saudi imam who calls Shi’ites “apostates” and says no churches should be allowed in Saudi Arabia — December 17, 2013
UK: Imam who says gays should be thrown off a mountain to speak at London conference — October 3, 2013
East London Mosque to host imam who supports jihad terror — July 26, 2013
UK Muslim leader says that imams promote sex slavery rings — May 16, 2013
UK: Muslim leader advocates female genital mutilation — April 30, 2012
UK: University to host imam who called Jews “enemy” — January 18, 2011
Saudi imam who called Jews “scum, rats, pigs, monkeys” speaks in London — August 5, 2009
UK: Imam’s daughter converted to Christianity, and her father came after her with an axe — March 16, 2009
UK Imam: “Non-Muslims are never innocent, they are guilty of denying Allah and his prophet” — April 1, 2008
It’s OK to kill gays — British imam — October 27, 2006
UK: Imam backs terror attack against Blair — June 18, 2006
British imam praises London Tube bombers — February 12, 2006
How many of those imams were prosecuted for hate speech?
“Muslim who praised IS drove case against ‘Satanic Islam’ sermon Belfast pastor McConnell,” by Suzanne Breen, Belfast Telegraph, July 10, 2015 (thanks to Worried):
A leading Northern Ireland Muslim who praised Islamic State is set to be called as the main prosecution witness against a Christian preacher charged with making offensive remarks about Islam.
In legal documents seen exclusively by the Belfast Telegraph, Dr Raied Al-Wazzan of the Belfast Islamic Centre is named as the chief witness in the prosecution case against Pastor James McConnell.
The evangelical preacher faces up to six months in prison if convicted over a sermon last year in which he branded Islam as “heathen” and “Satanic”.
In his statement to the PSNI, Dr Al-Wazzan denounces the pastor’s “terrible comments” and describes his “general sweeping statements” as “offensive and disgusting”.
In January Dr Al-Wazzan himself was embroiled in controversy when he said that Islamic State, which has carried out mass executions and forced millions of people to flee their homes, had been a positive force in Mosul, his home city in Iraq.
“Since the Islamic State took over, it has become the most peaceful city in the world,” he told BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback.
“Yes, there are other things going wrong there… they are murdering people, I agree, but you can go from east to west of the city without fear.”
His comments provoked public outrage and Dr Al-Wazzan later withdrew them and apologised.
In his statement to the PSNI about Pastor McConnell, Dr Al-Wazzan claims that many Muslims in Northern Ireland are professionals while the pastor’s congregation “may include impressionable, uneducated people”.
Last night Pastor McConnell told the Belfast Telegraph: “The PPS’s case against me is summed up by the fact that the chief witness the prosecution is calling is a man who made highly controversial comments about Isis (Islamic State in Syria and the Levant).
“A man who praised the rule in Iraq of Isis murderers will be giving evidence against me – it’s like a pantomime.
“I don’t know how he will have the nerve to stand in a court and testify against me, and I don’t know how the PPS has the nerve to think he is in a position morally to do that.”
Pastor McConnell’s solicitor Joe Rice said: “There are many bizarre features to this prosecution. We have now served our voluntary defence statement upon the court and the PPS.
“We expect the PPS to release additional and new information which may lead us to lodge an abuse of process application in the near future.”
A Public Prosecution Service spokesman said: “This case is now before the court and it is for the judge to decide on all evidential matters. It would be inappropriate for the PPS to make any further comment at this point.”
Pastor McConnell has been charged under the 2003 Communications Act with “sending, or causing to be sent, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other matter that was grossly offensive”.
The charges centre on a sermon he gave in May 2014 in which he said “Islam is heathen, Islam is Satanic, Islam is a doctrine spawned in Hell.” The sermon in the Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle was streamed on the internet.
In his statement to the PSNI four days after Pastor McConnell’s sermon, Dr Al-Wazzan reveals he hadn’t actually heard the sermon but became aware of it two days later when the Belfast Telegraph telephoned the Belfast Islamic Centre asking for comment about the preacher’s remarks.
Dr Al-Wazzan, an executive committee member of the centre, said he was “very offended” about what the evangelical preacher had said.
He told police: “It makes me angry that this man is making general sweeping statements of this type, branding all Muslims like this. A lot of the Muslim community in Belfast are professionals such as doctors and to hear this man speak like this is disgraceful and disgusting.
“My concerns are then worsened by the fact this man is in a position of power, preaching to a large congregation which may include impressionable, uneducated people who may then start to listen and believe what this man is saying rather than form their own beliefs.” In his five-page statement, Dr Al-Wazzan said he had been contacted by many Muslims worried about their safety following Pastor McConnell’s sermon.
“I now have concerns for the Muslim community and feel that any attacks that may happen in the forthcoming weeks are a direct result of what this man said on Sunday,” he added.
When Pastor McConnell was questioned by police about his sermon in June last year, Dr Al-Wazzan’s complaint was the only one the PSNI had received. A week later three more Muslims contacted the police to make brief statements of complaint.
They included two men from Pakistan whose north Belfast home was attacked a fortnight after the preacher’s controversial comments. Following the attack, Pastor McConnell visited the house, condemned what happened, and gave Muhammad Asif Khattak and Haroon Khan £100 to replace their broken window.
The Christian preacher is due to appear in court next month but the case is not likely to be heard until December.
Mr Rice has said it will be a landmark trial with leading political, religious, and academic figures giving evidence in defence of freedom of speech and religion.
Pastor McConnell last night said he was sorry if he had offended Muslims but he was still willing to go to jail rather than withdraw his remarks.
“Everybody has the right to free speech,” he said. “When Dr Al-Wazzan found himself in trouble for his Isis comments earlier this year, I publicly said that he had let himself go but I stressed that he shouldn’t be reported to the police.
“As strongly as I disagree with what he said, I support his right to say it. But, it seems, the same right is not extended to me.”…

No comments: