A small victory for sanity and the freedom of speech. It is absurd that charges were brought against them in the first place, but such is the Islamic victimhood industry. An update on this story. “Hotelier Ben Vogelenzang cleared of insulting Muslim guest,” by Russell Jenkins for The Times, December 9 (thanks to all who sent this in):
A district judge yesterday questioned the character of a Muslim convert as he dismissed the case against husband-and-wife Christian hoteliers accused of offending her new-found religion.
Why is a Sharia prohibition a criminal offense in Britain?
Ericka Tazi, 60, who converted when she married a Muslim man, had claimed that Ben Vogelenzang, 53, had called her a terrorist and compared Muhammad to a warlord when she wore a hijab on the last day of her stay at the Bounty House Hotel in Liverpool last March. She also claimed that his wife, Sharon, 54, told her that wearing such a garment represented a form of bondage, or oppression, in a finger-pointing tirade that left her traumatised.
Poor little lamb. Even if this account of events is true, why is it such a big deal? Why not just check out of the hotel and resolve not to return? Why not just decide that the Vogelenzangs are thoughtless boors and tell all your friends not to stay at the Bounty House when in Beatlesville? Why the incredible thin skin? It is continually noteworthy that Muslims all too often present themselves either as bloodthirsty, violent thugs, or as cringing weaklings who are “traumatized” by an unkind word. It would be refreshing to hear from some Muslim spokesmen who would say to Ericka Tazi, “Oh, grow up!” — but I am not holding my breath.
After a two-day trial, Richard Clancy, a district judge sitting at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court, threw out the allegations of religiously aggravated threatening behaviour, suggesting that Mrs Tazi’s account could not be relied upon and that she was not quite the religious person that she presented herself as in the witness box.
The case is being seen as a victory for free speech and liberty by evangelical groups, notably the Christian Institute, which sponsored the defence costs. It is likely to cause widespread alarm in the Muslim community.
It is a victory for free speech, and it should cause alarm in the Muslim community, as a sign that their tried-and-true tactics of bullying and intimidation, and manipulation of the ridiculous culture of victimization that prevails in the UK and the US today, will not always be successful.
The 15-minute incident came as Mrs Tazi, who suffers from fibromyalgia, came down to breakfast at the hotel at the end of a four-week course of pain management at Aintree Hospital. She decided to wear her hijab, the traditional Islamic dress, in celebration.
Mrs Tazi, a mother from Warrington, Cheshire, claimed that Mr Vogelenzang was transformed into a “whirling dervish”, likened Muhammad to warlords down the ages and asked her: “Are you a terrorist or a murderer?”
Mr Vogelenzang denied the allegation and suggested that it was Mrs Tazi who had provoked the confrontation by stating that Jesus was a minor prophet and the Bible was not true.
Hugh Tomlinson, QC, the couple’s counsel, said that it could not be objectionable under the laws of England that a person believed that women in Islam were oppressed. Even if it was said that Muhammad was a warlord, this could not be deemed offensive.
Indeed. For Muhammad was a warlord. Once it becomes “offensive” to speak the truth and this “offense” is given criminal penalties, we are done for.
“The fact that someone is upset or offended is not a reason for criminalising the speech used by the other person,” he said. Dismissing the case, Mr Clancy said that it was often the case that religion and politics were the tinderbox that set the whole thing alight. “It would appear that is what has happened here,” he said….