Statement – 19th June 2015

I am surprised and disappointed that the Public Prosecution Service, after taking over a year to investigate this case, has now decided to issue Summonses for two offences under the Communications Act 2003.

When I attended voluntarily for interview at Newtownabbey police station on 6th June 2014, the reason for my attendance was for possible offences under the Public Order (NI) Order 1987. No proceedings are now to be taken under this Order.

I made it crystal clear at the time that I have always lived and practised my faith in accordance with my religious beliefs.

Along with thousands of others in the U.K, I have problems with aspects of the Islamic faith but not with those who practise that faith in Northern Ireland.

I apologised back in June 2014 if I had unintentionally hurt anyone’s feelings by my comments.

My Sermon was highlighting how many followers of Islam have, regrettably, interpreted the doctrine of Islam as justification for violence.

I simply abhor violence and condemn anyone, of any faith who uses religion to justify it.

Many faiths attend at the Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle, including members of the Muslim faith.

I believe in the principles of free speech and freedom of religion and I believe that the decision to prosecute me is a threat to my own freedom of speech and conscience.

Indeed I believe that this decision to prosecute me will concern others like me who wish to live, in the genuinely pluralist society, recognising the role of conscience and protecting everyone from discrimination.

I will be pleading not guilty to both Summonses at Laganside Magistrates Court on 7th August 2015.