Former Waterside pastor Rev. Ian Brown says no-one raised an eyebrow when he criticised militant Islam at Lisnagelvin in the wake of the London tube and bus bombings of 2005.
Rev. Brown, who pastored the Londonderry Free Presbyterian congregation from 1987 until he moved to the Martyr’s Memorial Church in Belfast last year, made the comments in a sermon entitled ‘Islam: What’s it all about?’ in defence of Pastor James McConnell of the Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle.
Addressing Ian Paisley’s former congregation, Rev. Brown said: “I recall back in Londonderry, taking the topic, after 7/7 [a reference to the London tube and bus bombings of July 7, 2005], we took the topic then: ‘The monster in our midst.’
“And we were talking, of course, about militant Islam, and how it had been in Madrid, as well as 9/11 [a reference to the attacks on New York, Virgina and Pennsylvania in the United States on September 11, 2001], 7/7 in the United Kingdom and all kinds of alarms and scares, threats and wars were being prosecuted at that particular time.
“Not a word was said. The same again with Pastor McConnell’s previous sermons on Islam, not an eyebrow raised.”
Rev. Brown suggested ‘a lot more than an eyebrow’ has now been raised due to growing criticism of militant Islam in the wake of the kidnapping of hundreds of school girls by radical Islamist group Boko Haram in Nigeria.
“It doesn’t take a lot of genius to work out. If it did we’d be lost and defeated right away. But it doesn’t.
“Because of the current controversy, because of the situation over in Sudan with this particular lady, who is very much the focus of news media, also what is happening in Kenya, because of what is happening in Nigeria, because of what is happening in Indonesia. Do I need to go on?
“I believe we do need to open our eyes and be aware of what exactly we are looking at.”
Rev. Brown also criticised Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness stating: “Is it not hugely ironic that one of his loudest critics is Martin McGuinness? I mean, can you credit it, Martin McGuinness, of IRA/Sinn Féin, who now has the nerve to stand up and present himself, dusting himself down, as if, I’m a part of a breed of shrinking violets, whenever a terrorist organisation, of which he was a part, murdered people in this city [Belfast].”