Ministry at risk in Muslim vilification appeal.

By August 25, 2006

Australia (MNN)–Australia’s Vilification case is back in court. Last June, Pastors Daniel Scot and Danny Nalliah were found guilty, under Victoria’s religious hatred law, of vilifying Muslims at a 2002 conference.

This week, Voice of the Martyrs’ Todd Nettleton says, “Two pastors who were convicted of vilifying Muslims in the seminar that they led have appealed their case. The case has now been heard in the court of appeals in Australia. No decision has been announced at this time. They are waiting, it could be up to two or three months before the decision is announced.”

If the verdict isn’t overturned, the men have been ordered to publicly apologize for statements they made in a conference and to not repeat the statements.

The Racial and Religious Tolerance Act defines vilification as inciting hatred, serious contempt, revulsion or severe ridicule against a person or class of persons.

The law shifts the burden of proof to the defendant for non-offensiveness. When asked about what this means for free speech and freedom of religion, Nettleton said, “If it’s illegal to tell the truth about Islam because somebody might be offended, then that obviously has a ‘chilling effect’ on ministry it has a ‘chilling effect’ on evangelism, particularly among Muslims. It’s really a scary precedent.”

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