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NI's First Minister apologises for defending 'hate speech' pastor

NI's First Minister apologises for defending 'hate speech' pastor

Categories: Latest News

Monday June 02 2014

BBC News and the Belfast Telegraph continue with coverage on the Northern Irish pastor, who likened Islam to ‘a doctrine spawned in hell’ noting that the First Minister, Peter Robinson, defended the remarks in a newspaper interview saying that he wouldn’t trust Muslims on spiritual guidance but would trust them to “go down to the shops for me”.

Pastor John O’Connell is being investigated for hate crime after the contents of his Sunday sermon demonising Islam were published in the papers. Northern Ireland’s First Minister, who attends the same church, was asked about the pastor in a newspaper interview in which he said the pastor didn’t have “an ounce of hatred in his bones”.

The First Minister himself was forced to explain his interview in a public statement after his remarks were roundly criticised for being condescending.

Robinson said “I would never seek to cause any insult to any section of our community.  For the avoidance of any doubt I make it clear that I welcome the contribution made by all communities in Northern Ireland, and in the particular circumstances, the Muslim community.”

Robinson also apologised to a Muslim delegation who visited Stormont yesterday further saying he “was willing to apologise to anyone who had been hurt or distressed by his comments.”


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