22 May

I’m not guilty of hate crimes says Pastor McConnell

Pastor McConnell has rejected claims that he is guilty of hate crimes following this week’s storm surrounding last Sunday evening’s sermon, May 18.

The message entitled: “The sermon ministers will not be allowed to preach” has the nation talking; nevertheless the pastor has branded suggestions that he is “a racist” as “utter nonsense” after being besieged by the media about his remarks that the Islamic faith is “Satanic” and a “doctrine spawned in hell”. He also said that he didn’t trust Muslims – a statement he has refused to withdraw.

Already this week the pastor has been interviewed by BBC Newsline, UTV Live and by both the Stephen Nolan Radio and Television Shows.  There’s also been considerable interest in the story from local national newspapers like the Belfast Telegraph and the Newsletter.

Despite being criticised by the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness and by Raied-Al Wazzan of the Belfast Islamic Centre Pastor McConnell maintains: “I want to put it on record that I would never wish to hurt anyone or to incite any form of violence. I deplore violence no matter where it comes from.

“I hate no-one and I think I have proved this. People of all denominations and backgrounds are made welcome at our church and my record proves that for 60 years I have reached out to every community”.

Pastor McConnell’s remarks were prompted after he learned that a pregnant woman Meriam Yehia Ibrahim (27) was sentenced to death in Sudan after refusing to recant her Christian beliefs.  A Sudanese doctor, she has been condemned to death by hanging and is to be given 100 lashes for alleged ‘adultery’.

Although the pastor has been asked to retract his comments he says “I will not apologise because I believe I am right in what I am saying. The whole point has been missed which is that a young girl is going to die a horrific death just because she aspires to be a Christian. What are people doing about this? What is the western world doing about it? What is Muslim community doing about it?”

Pastor McConnell has received hundreds of letters and emails backing his views about the Islamic faith including a supportive letter sent to the Newsletter by MLA Sammy Wilson and from evangelical minister Paul Burns of Adullam Christian Fellowship Church in Sandy Row who voiced his support for the pastor in the Belfast Telegraph.

Despite calls this week by the Deputy First Minister for a full police investigation into Pastor McConnell’s remarks the 77 year-old evangelist insists he’d rather go to prison than retract his comments.

If you would like to watch Pastor McConnell’s full interview with Stephen Nolan please click the following links. 


The Nolan Show (BBC iPlayer)