ON May 14 Pastor James McConnell launched an unprovoked attack on the Islamic section of our community. He claimed that Islam is "heathen", "Satanic" and asserted that it was "a doctrine spawned in Hell".
These comments alone are detrimental enough; however, the head of the Executive and leader of the DUP, Peter Robinson, supported the preacher.
This is nothing more than sectarian discrimination and abuse. Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, is a member of the Abrahamic family of religions. Thus, using McConnell's logic Christianity and Judaism are heathen, Satanic doctrines spawned in Hell. Is that assertion not offensive to Christians and Jews?
Also, all three religions in the Abrahamic family believe in justice, peace and forgiveness. Imagine if the words Islam and Muslims were replaced by Protestantism and Protestants, Catholicism and Catholics, Judaism and Jews or any other group. It would have been considered inflammatory and criminal hate speech.
In Sharia law there is also the principle of always giving those who have broken laws the chance to repent. That is very similar to the Christian fundamental of forgiveness that Jesus of Nazareth believed in and promoted.
Pastor McConnell has a responsibility to guide and protect his flock. He should teach them to love not only their neighbours, but their enemies. This is what Jesus did two millennia ago.
James Connelly Society