An evangelical preacher who described Islam as satanic and heathen is to be
prosecuted for insult.
Speaking to his congregation in north Belfast on 18 May, McConnell said:
A new evil had arisen and there are cells of Muslims right throughout Britain.
Islam is heathen, Islam is satanic, Islam is a doctrine spawned in hell.
In a statement, Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service (PPS) said the firebrand preacher had refused to accept a lesser punishment which meant the case would not have gone to court. A spokespersector said:
I can confirm that following consideration of a complaint in relation to an internet broadcast of a sermon in May 2014, a decision was taken to offer an individual an informed warning for an offence contrary to the Communications Act 2003.
That offence was one of sending, or causing to be sent, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other matter that was grossly offensive. The offer of an informed warning was refused by the defendant and accordingly
the matter is now proceeding by way of a summary prosecution in the Magistrates Court.
Pastor McConnell initially defended his remarks made during a sermon at his Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle last May but, following a huge public outcry he apologised for any offence or distress caused.
Offsite Comment: A disgraceful use of the Communications Act
The Odeon group has said it will not refuse entry to men to a film being screened as part of the London Israeli Film
Israeli Charedi film-maker Rechy Elias said she did not want men to see her historical romance, Gift of Fire.
Venues JW3 and the Odeon cinema in Swiss Cottage had agreed to a female only audience despite complaints from men who have requested to see the film. But, Odeon has now decided to lift the restriction. A spokesman said:
We offer a wide range of films throughout the year for all our guests to enjoy. We do not, and will not, restrict entry to any film based on gender.
Festival organisers responded to the Odeon statement by saying they:
Will stand outside the cinema and stop men from going in if we have to.
In response to the Odeon deciding not to enforce gender segregation, the co-founders of the festival, Odelia Haroush, Anat Koren and Patty Hochmann released a joint statement saying they were withdrawing the film. They said:
We could not accommodate Mrs Elias's religious requirements and enable the cinema to maintain its policy not to restrict entry to any film based on gender.
The film contains women dancing and singing, and the Charedi community, and indeed many religious Jews, do not feel that men should be watching this.
We respect the position of the filmmaker and the cinema alike, but have decided at this time we need to honour both parties and the only way to do so is to cancel the screening at Odeon Swiss Cottage.