I picked this up on Bookworm Room this morning.
Daily Mail Online in the UK reported:
What an interesting turn of events.
A Christian couple have been charged with a criminal offence after taking part in what they regarded as a reasonable discussion about religion with guests at their hotel.
Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang were arrested after a Muslim woman complained to police that she had been offended by their comments.
They have been charged under public order laws with using ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words’ that were ‘religiously aggravated’.
The couple, whose trial has been set for December, face a fine of up to £5,000 and a criminal record if they are convicted.
Although the facts are disputed, it is thought that during the conversation the couple were challenged over their Christian beliefs.
It is understood that they suggested that Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was a warlord and that traditional Muslim dress for women was a form of bondage.
They deny, however, that their comments were threatening and argue that they had every right to defend and explain their beliefs.
The article goes on to say:
Notice any similarities to the Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn cases with our HRCs in the last few years. Our Human Rights world in Canada is out of Control. In the UK, it is OUT OF CONTROL. I can see liberal zealots in Canada pushing for a Public Order Act, with Elmo behind them to nudge them along. Eh What!
The use by the police of the Public Order Act to arrest people over offensive comments has dismayed a number of lawyers, who say the legislation was passed to deal with law and order problems in the streets.
Neil Addison, a prominent criminal barrister and expert in religious law, said: ‘The purpose of the Public Order Act is to prevent disorder, but I’m very concerned that the police are using it merely because someone is offended.
‘It should be used where there is violence, yobbish behaviour or gratuitous personal abuse. It should never be used where there has been a personal conversation or debate with views firmly expressed.
‘If someone is in a discussion and they don’t like what they are hearing, they can walk away.’
He added that the police had a legal duty under the Human Rights Act to defend free speech ‘and I think they are forgetting that’.