November/December, 1998 Volume XIII Number 3

Preaching to Moslems is "hate crime," court says

Toronto, ONTARIO - On June19, preaching the Christian gospel to Moslems became a hate crime in Canada.
Just one year earlier, members from Arab Islamic Groups in Toronto prevailed on the Attorney General of Ontario to lay charges against Mark Harding. Harding was handing out pamphlets which the complainants allege are hate literature and anti-Islamic in "tone."
However, Harding's pamphlets were merely a personal response to stories published in Ambition, a journal for young Muslims in Canada, promoting vigorous evangelizing of non-Moslems.
The publication also reported that Moslem prayers were now being taught and recited in some Canadian schools under the banner of "diversity."
Harding makes his living as a cabinet maker but spends about 60% of his time evangelizing Moslems.
In 1997, Harding began distributing literature outside Weston Collegiate Institute in Toronto which decried the "torturing, maiming, starving, and killing" of Christians in Moslem countries and protested the school principal's decision to allow Moslem students to use school facilities and regular teaching times for religious ceremonies. Such use of school facilities has been denied to Christians at the school.
Violence against Christians in Moslem countries is well documented.
Harding was arrested on June 30, 1997 and released on bail after two days in jail.
Particulars of the charges as expressed by the Human Rights Commission were that "Mr. Harding alleges that Muslims every where preach a false hope of hatred and violence because Mohammed was a false prophet and an anti Christ. The message states that the Koran is a book from Satan and not God."
Among the statements used to convict Herding of the "hate crime" were, "The Qar'an (Koran) isn't the Word of God," "Muhammed was an antichrist," and "Christianity is the only way to go."
Harding and some friends arrived for a preliminary hearing to a courtroom overflowing with Muslims. A postponement was granted. Their departure was escorted by the security police through crowds, some of whom were screaming, "Infidels you will burn in hell."
No Moslems were arrested for a "hate crime" against Harding.
At the June 19 trial, Harding was found guilty in the Ontario Court's Provsional Division on three counts of "willfully promoting hatred."
Shahina Siddiqui, coordinator of community relations for a local Islamic Association, said, "The verdict sends a message that views of that nature can't be allowed in a public forum. There's a fine line between freedom of expression and hatred. Harding crossed that line."
However, George Batarseh, a pastor of the Arabic Pentecostal Church in Waterloo, Ontario, said the court has set a double standard.
"You can't say anything about a minority group or faith, but Moslems call Christians infidels and insult Jesus all the time," he said.
Batarseh, a native Jordanian who helped raise funds for Harding's defense, added, "Its the same as being in a dictatorship."
Harding said that his intent was not to criticize all Moslems, but he also believes that faithful Moslems will always engage in holy war, or Jihad, against non-Moslems because they are required to do so according to Islamic teaching.
Strengthening Harding's assertions, is the August 19, 1997 Wall Street Journal article which described how Islam is changing its tactics.
"Islamists are transforming themselves into a powerful mainstream force emphasizing legal actions, business development, and politics over terrorism and violence in their effort to topple secular Arab regimes. The rallying cry remains jihad, or holy war. but it is now jihad by other means," the article said.
According to the article, the Moslim "missionaries" are looking for any way the can use the existing legal or cultural systems to promote Islamic beliefs or squelch those who oppose them.
"Islam is a violent religion," he says. "Our children are at risk of falling into a false religion because they have no idea what Islam is all about."
Harding faces six months or more in jail.

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Preaching to Moslems is “hate crime,” court says