A reminder of the shameful Pastor McConnell saga

Dr Raied Al Wazzan, centre, with, left, Emma Little-Pengelly MP, Arlene Foster MLA and, right, Dr Saleem Taneen' at an event to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on Belfast's Boucher Road
Dr Raied Al Wazzan, centre, with, left, Emma Little-Pengelly MP, Arlene Foster MLA and, right, Dr Saleem Taneen' at an event to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on Belfast's Boucher Road

Unionists are villains of course and so will always have to do penance.

Arlene Foster, like unionist leaders before her, has to trot off to Irish speakers or attend GAA events.

Pastor James McConnell, outside his trial in Belfast in 2015. The case followed a complaint from Dr Raied Al Wazzan over Pastor McConnell's anti Islamic sermon. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Pastor James McConnell, outside his trial in Belfast in 2015. The case followed a complaint from Dr Raied Al Wazzan over Pastor McConnell's anti Islamic sermon. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

But that won’t be enough: if she doesn’t back a full throated Irish language act, there will be no political stability here (and if she does there will only be stability until the next non negotiable demand).

Sure enough, the DUP leader was making clear recently that her diary is free for a coming GAA final.

Mrs Foster also yesterday paid respects to the local Islamic community at an event to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. I have been in Islamic societies during Ramadan, a major observance, and think it fitting for politicians here to respect such a fixture in the Muslim calendar.

During Mrs Foster’s visit, she was met by Dr Raied Al Wazzan, Belfast Islamic Centre’s executive treasurer.

It was a reminder of the saga years ago that told us all much about Britain’s craven response to Islamic extremism, and our self flagellation when it comes to the dominant Christian culture.

Dr Al Wazzan reported Pastor James McConnell for his sermon against Muslims.

Dr Al Wazzan also praised the ‘peace’ in Mosul secured by the lunatic mass murderers Isis (he later apologised).

If you or I was to praise the ‘peace’ in Warsaw brought about in the 1940s by Nazi brutality, we might find ourselves in some difficulty with the law. Did Dr Al Wazzan find the same?

No, it was Pastor McConnell who did. His far less offensive comments landed him in the dock.

A shameful episode.

• Ben Lowry (@BenLowry2) is News Letter deputy editor

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