A Christian pastor from Northern Ireland is facing six months in prison for making allegedly “offensive” remarks about Islam. Yet the man pushing for his prosecution, who has used the controversy to leverage the Irish government into supplying land for a mega-mosque, is an ISIS sympathizer, yet nobody says a word.
Breitbart (h/t Brenda K) Mosul, where jihadists have murdered or expelled all of the city’s 2,000-year-old, 60,000-strong Christian community, is “the most peaceful city in the world” and “ISIS is less evil than the Iraqi government,” said Raied al-Wazzan, the executive director of the Belfast Islamic Center, which reported the pastor to the police.
Speaking live on BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback show, he continued: “Islamic State came to protect a section of society that had been marginalised, and foreign policy had pushed part of society to reach this point.”
The police are not investigating his comments, and he has not resigned from his post with the Belfast Islamic Centre, which claims to speak for every one of the 4,000 Muslims thought to live in Belfast. A week later, however, he said his comment had “offended many people” and stated; “I condemn all kinds of violence.”
The controversy began back in May 2014, when pastor James McConnell, 78, gave a sermon where he described Islam as “heathen” and “satanic”.
Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service has said in a press release that McConnell violated the 2003 Communications Act by “sending, or causing to be sent, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other matter that was grossly offensive.” The offence carries a sentence of up to six months.
Raied al-Wazzan had been leading the push to have McConnell prosecuted for a year before coming out as an IS sympathiser. “This is inflammatory language and it definitely is not acceptable,” he told the BBC back in May 2014. Adding that he would hold McConnell “responsible for any racial attacks on any Muslim in Northern Ireland.”
Around this time, in early June 2014, Raied al-Wazzan was using the publicity generated by the controversy to lobby for taxpayers money to be spent on land for a new mega-mosque. “It is a cultural centre that we are looking for and not just a mosque,” he said on local radio, adding in a statement: “We will provide the funds to build the cultural centre but we need the land from the government.”