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Daniel Scot Danny Nalliah
Daniel Scot and Danny Nalliah
Two Christians are facing a tribunal in Victoria State, Australia, accused of "vilifying Muslims" in a seminar on March 9, 2002. The Islamic Council of Victoria contends that the seminar violated Victoria State's Racial and Religious Tolerance Act (for more information, click here).

On October 29, Judge Michael Higgins told a tribunal that he had received a call from the Department of Foreign Affairs over concerns about the case raised in a "considerable" number of emails from Americans to the Australian embassy in Washington. Part of the concern centered around the punishment that the two men, Daniel Scot and Danny Nalliah, could face. Judge Higgins stated that, while the act provides for up to six months' jail, this penalty would not apply in this case. He noted that a jail sentence applies only to a section of the law referred to as "Serious Religious Vilification." These two men, however, are being tried under the section referred to as "Religious Vilification." Under this section, the judge could order apologies, written statements, compensation, or fines. To view the actual legislation, go to https://www.vomcanada.com/download/rrta.pdf.

The judge also indicated his thinking at this point in the proceedings. He acknowledged that the parts of the seminar transcripts presented by the complainants could have been interpreted in that way. However, the seminar went on to talk about the need to dialogue with Muslims, develop relationships and mix socially with them. "Is the document as a whole an incitement to hatred as set out in (the act)? If you stop at page 67 it's pretty easy to say yes, but when you go through the rest, then I think the first view you might adopt starts to wane somewhat," said the judge.

The tribunal resumes today, November 5, and will continue until Friday. It will then adjourn until December or February because of prior commitments. The judge will announce the date to resume on Friday.

Pray for Scot, Nalliah, and their legal team. Pray for wisdom in the words they say and the ability to present the truth in a convincing way. Pray that all charges against them will be dropped soon.

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