That figures, such as Dante AlighieriÂ (author of theÂ Divine Comedy), Sir Winston Churchill, and Polish king Jon Sobieski,Â among others, would be liable to arrest andÂ criminal prosecutionÂ today, due to their opinions ofÂ Islam (asÂ a legalÂ - political - religious system), is itself an outrage, asÂ is the prosecution of Paul Weston, (a British candidate for theÂ European parliament) for the crime ofÂ publicly quoting WinstonÂ Churchill due to fundamentalist Islamic objections.
This progressive dismantling of democratic rights of free speechÂ has now reached the point of threatened religious persecution with the police investigation of Pastor JamesÂ McConnell, of Whitewell Metropolitan TabernacleÂ Belfast, for the expressionÂ of hisÂ theological views concerning Islam. At no point did James McConnell voice any personal hatred or remarks of a racist nature. When one poll of UK Moslems after the 2005 London tube & bus attacks revealed 40 percent of BritishÂ MoslemsÂ would not report knowledgeÂ of a planned terrorist attack to the police, his personal inability to trust members of that community, coming from a city like Belfast, hauntedÂ by its own history of terror, is an opinion to which he entitled. HeÂ did not howeverÂ engender any hatred of Moslem peopleÂ asÂ radical Islamic clerics have been exposed,Â doing againstÂ 'infidels', with virtual immunity from arrest and prosecution. Despite our disbeliefÂ in Islam,Â weÂ do not despise Moslem people or deny them their rightsÂ andÂ neither does James McConnell -Â a man with whom we ourselves,Â at times, have theologicallyÂ disagreed. The issue however is not agreement or disagreementÂ but theÂ right of religious conviction and expression inside of a church. It is an undeniable fact that not aÂ single Islamic nation in the worldÂ provides ChristiansÂ and Jews the sameÂ rights WesternÂ societies give Moslems. Are Christians now also being denied that freedom in Christian societies also? We urge the public of all communities to rally to the support of Pastor McConnell and we respectfully urge the Northern Ireland police to refrain from, what it is impossibleÂ to see as anything other than, a politically motivated attack on religious freedom.