Belfast Telegraph

Pastor James McConnell Islam row spreads around globe

By Adrian Rutherford

What started as a sermon at a Belfast church has quickly spiralled into a heated political row which has made headlines around the world.

The rant by Pastor James McConnell, in which he described Islam as "satanic" and a "doctrine spawned in hell", was first reported by this newspaper on May 21.

It became a full-blown political row after the First Minister defended the comments and said he would not trust Muslims who have been involved in terrorist activities or those devoted to Sharia law.

The controversy has been picked up by Al Jazeera, which broadcasts to more than 220 million households in 100-plus countries.

ABC News, one of America's leading broadcasters, also carried the fast-moving story and the Washington Post published the story on its website.

It said: "Northern Ireland's Protestant leader retreated Thursday from anti-Muslim comments he made when defending a Belfast evangelist's right to denounce Islam."

Sky News reported: "Islam 'satanic' comments defended by Robinson".

RIA Novosti, one of the largest news agencies in Russia, picked up on Alliance MLA Anna Lo's threat to quit Northern Ireland.

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