A court has upheld an appeal by a Christian group. They had originally been found by a lower court to have villified Islam when they told the truth about that religion at a series of seminars
Court orders vilification retrial
Barney Zwartz, Religion Editor
December 14, 2006
Pastors will keep ‘telling truth’ on Muslims
Two Christian pastors found to have vilified Muslims under Victoria’s religious hatred law won their appeal and hailed the decision as a victory for free speech.
The Court of Appeal ordered the case to be reheard at the original tribunal, before a different judge and with no further evidence. It set aside the orders for public apologies in newspaper advertisements and for the pastors not to repeat their remarks.
Last year Judge Michael Higgins found that Pastors Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot and Catch the Fire Ministries vilified Muslims at a seminar on jihad in Melbourne in March 2002, in a newsletter and a website article.
He said these suggested that the Koran promoted killing and looting, that Muslims wanted to take over Australia and terrorists were true Muslims.
Justices Geoffrey Nettle, David Ashley and Marcia Neave overturned that finding but rejected the appeal that the Racial and Religious Vilification Act was unconstitutional.
They ordered the Islamic Council of Victoria, which brought the original complaint, to pay half the appellants’ appeal costs but left the costs of the original hearing to be decided by the judge who rehears the case.
After the hearing, Pastor Nalliah said: “I’m really thankful to the Lord. I would be pleased to see it completed and not go back to the tribunal, but what we got was more than a blessing.”
He said it was a great day for free speech. He added that all laws needed to be tested, and this now had now been tested and found to be a bad piece of legislation.
Pastor Scot thanked his supporters and vowed to continue conducting seminars on the Koran and Hadiths (Islam’s sacred texts). “Some Muslims have got the idea they have to hide the truth, and that’s very sad,” he said.
“People should know it from the primary sources and not be misled by politically correct teachers who don’t know the reality of Islam and want to glorify it with false pretensions and assumptions,” he said.