Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A victory for tolerance and freedom

On Dec 14th, three Victorian Court of Appeal Judges unanimously threw out a previous judgement from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT) that two Christian pastors had engaged in conduct that incited hatred and contempt for Islam.

This was the first test case under Victoria's controversial Racial and Religious Tolerance Act of 2001 brought by the Islamic Council of Victoria against two Catch the Fire Ministers.

VCAT had alleged that the Ministers had caused 250 Christians to "laugh at" Islam during a seminar in 2002.

The case was sent back to the original tribunal to be heard by a different judge. The Islamic Council of Victoria was ordered to pay half the costs.

Mr. Scot, one of the accused, had apparently read quotations fro the Koran which "made fun of Muslim beliefs in a hostile and demeaning manner".

A victory for common sense?

Not, according to Australia's Islamophobic Watch, which screamed that the "Christian right in Australia has been given the green light to incite hatred against Islam".

Mr Scot added that "people should know it [Islam] 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."