The criminal trial of a Christian couple charged with a public order offence for criticising Islam begins today.
Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang of Aintree in Liverpool are being prosecuted for a “religiously aggravated” public order offence. The trial, which is scheduled to last for two days, is being heard at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court.
Police arrested the couple, who run the Bounty House Hotel in Liverpool, after a female Muslim hotel guest complained that she was offended by comments made on 20 March.
According to newspaper reports, the debate involved discussion of whether Jesus was the Son of God or just a minor prophet of Islam.
The Christian Institute is funding the Vogelenzangs’ legal defence. Its spokesman, Mike Judge, said: “We believe there are significant free speech and religious liberty issues at stake.”
The couple were arrested and charged in July under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 and Section 31(1)(c) and (5) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.
who criticised Islam , The Christian Institute, Dec. 8, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog
The Christian Institute has set up a Legal Defence Fund. The aim is to fund the costs of legal action and the associated campaign work in cases of national importance for religious liberty.