Northern Irish Christian preacher cleared over anti-Islamic remarks

January 5, 2016 14:09

BELFAST - A Northern Irish Evangelical Christian preacher who described Islam as "satanic" and "the spawn of the devil" during one of his sermons was found not guilty on Tuesday of broadcasting grossly offensive remarks.

Pastor James McConnell, who has been supported by some leading politicians in the British province, was charged over his comments in the 2014 sermon, which was delivered in the independent church he founded and streamed live on the internet.

Judge Liam McNally said McConnell was "entitled to criticize Islam in a robust manner," and that his comments amounted to "nothing other than a bout of name calling."

The case comes against the background of growing anti-Islamic sentiment from some quarters in Europe, particularly far-right parties such as France's National Front.

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