Case dismissed against Xian hotel owners (updated)
A case brought against two hoteliers by an offended Muslim convert has just been dismissed by Liverpool Magistrates Court.
Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang were arrested after a complaint by a 60-year-old Muslim convert. Ericka Tazi accused them of using “threatening, abusive or insulting words” that were “religiously aggravated”. Apparently this included calling Mohammed (the inventor of Islam) a warlord.
Tazi saw the opportunity to play the victim card, which in turn presented her hosts with exactly the same opportunity, and the whole thing descended into a more-persecuted-than-thou competition, with the hateful Christian Institute funding the hoteliers’ defence and milking the publicity for all it was worth.
The victory was necessary, but it still leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth. The CI will crow and give praise to their god for defending their freedom of speech – oblivious to the fact that their campaign to shut down Jerry Springer: The Opera reveals them to be hypocrites of the first order.
UPDATE: (10 Dec) Liverpool News gives the magistrate’s reasons for dismissing the case:
1) It did not appear that Tazi was a particularly devout Muslim (She had told the hoteliers, “Would you have preferred it if I had had my tits out and you could see my backside and I was out getting rat arsed?”).
2) Some of the evidence was doubtful (One of the witnesses apparently spoke to angels)
If Tazi had been more devout, and the main witness less mental, would then the Volelenzangs have been prosecuted? We will never know, but that is what is implied.
So it was the right verdict, for terrible reasons. The judge should have made it clear that it cannot be against the law to have a theological discussion – even if someone ends up being offended.
UPDATE: (12:40) Harry’s Place reveals that Tazi’s case was funded by the execrable Islamic Human Rights Council (imaginary tagline: “Because Islamic Humans are Different”). They are “shocked at the acquittal” – so it’s not all bad.