Belfast Telegraph

Pastor James McConnell: Powers of darkness won't silence me

By Chris Kilpatrick

An evangelical pastor at the centre of a religious hate row has spoken of his week of turmoil and defiantly vowed he won't bow to what he described as "powers of darkness".

James McConnell took to the pulpit at Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle a week on from his controversial comments about Islam which sparked a fierce backlash and subsequent police investigation.

The previous Sunday, the 75-year-old told the congregation Islam was "heathen and satanic" and a "doctrine spawned in hell".

Presbyterian moderator, the Rev Dr Rob Craig, said the comments were unacceptable.

"They are not consistent with the Gospel of Christ and the love of God," Dr Craig said.

The defiant north Belfast pastor has refused to apologise for the remarks and yesterday told those at Sunday morning service he had received a lot of support in recent days.

He described the events of the previous week as "turmoil".

He said "the powers of darkness" would not prevail.

"Someone informed me the cameras are outside," he told the Whitewell congregation.

"They're disappointed we are not going to talk about this, this morning. We're here to remember Him, to glorify Him.

"No more of this 15 minutes of political talk, then glorifying the gospel. Not here, no," he added.

He said he had received a swell of support from the community since his comments on the Muslim faith.

Police confirmed they are investigating the comments made during last week's service, which were broadcast on the internet.

The veteran preacher also said the PSNI would be "stupid" to pursue any criminal action against him over the contentious remarks.

"I've dealt with the police all my life, they'll not put me in jail," he said. "If they do they'll make a martyr out of me. It would be stupid of them. If they did put me in jail God's people would rise up, they'll rise up against them."

Page 23: Pastor is ignorant on Islam

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