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Shaun O'Sullivan.jpg
Christian Concern
Shaun O'Sullivan.jpg
Christian Concern
World News

Street preacher who suggested Islamic prophet was a paedophile found not guilty of hate speech

by Premier Journalist

A street preacher has been found not guilty of hate speech after suggesting the Muslim prophet Muhammad was a paedophile.

Shaun O'Sullivan was accused of causing religious and racially motivated harassment, alarm and distress by criticising Muhammad and Buddha when preaching in March 2020.

Passers-by suggested he was being racist, alerting the police of his actions in Swindon Town Centre. 

When questioned by police Mr O'Sullivan stated he was just stating facts.

Appearing in Swindon Magistrates Court, the 32-year-old was found not guilty of the public order offence with which he was charged. 

His lawyer, Michael Phillips, who works with campaign group Christian Concern, responded to those offended by Mr O'Sullivan's message. 

Speaking to Premier Christian News, he said: "I think in order to explain Christianity, you have to explain what Christianity is not. 

"A lot of people say 'Well, all roads lead to God'.

"However, the message that Shaun preaches is that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life -  and nobody comes to the Father except through Him. 

"He believes that it's the right thing to do to go out there, and to confront people about maybe beliefs that they have, which are leading them away from God."

Mr O'Sullivan - who is a born-again Christian would previously heckle and persecute street preachers, said: "I am relieved that the magistrates have seen sense and found me not guilty. It was never my intention to offend or upset people. 

"My intention was to tell the truth based on the evidence in the Bible and Islamic scripture, and when you do that in public there is always someone who will be offended. 

"Offending someone is not and never should be seen as a crime."

This is not the first time the matter has been a case for the courts. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) were forced to get involved in a similar case in Austria, in which a woman was fined €480 (£415) for calling the Islamic prophet a paedophile.

According to Islamic tradition, the prophet consummated his marriage to his wife Aisha when she was 9-years-old. 

The matter was elevated to the ECHR, who said she was not exercising freedom of expression, but was deliberately demonstrating that Muhammed was not worthy of worship, affirming the decision by made by the Austrian courts. 

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