A Northern Ireland pastor has today been found not guilty of using “grossly offensive” words during a sermon made available online.
Pastor James McConnell was on trial for comments he made about Islam. Speaking today, he made clear that he was standing against Islam as a belief, rather than individual Muslims.
Giving his decision, District Judge Liam McNally said the courts should be cautious of clamping down on speech – even if some found it “contemptible”.
The National Secular Society said that while it ‘strongly disagreed’ with McConnell’s words, the ruling was a “welcome reassertion of the fundamental right to freedom of expression”.
McConnell was being prosecuted under the 2003 Communications Act for saying in a sermon: “Islam is heathen, Islam is satanic, Islam is a doctrine spawned in hell”.
Speaking after the result, McConnell said that he loved Muslims, but he was against “their theology and their beliefs”. READ MORE