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Christian hoteliers received violent threats over Muslim guest 'insult'
From The Sunday Telegraph
Christian hoteliers Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang received hate mail after they were accused of insulting a Muslim guest because of her faith.
The couple said they have been "living a nightmare" since they were charged in July with a "religiously-aggravated" offence of causing harassment, alarm or distress.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, the couple have told of their relief at being cleared of insulting Ericka Tazi, a Muslim woman who was staying at their hotel.
They said that they had suffered emotionally and financially since the prosecution began, received threats warning they would be attacked and nearly lost their business due to an 80 per cent decline in takings at their nine-bedroom hotel, the Bounty House in Aintree, Liverpool.
"The last nine months have been a nightmare for us," said Mr Vogelenzang.
"We've been drained emotionally and financially. We have, sadly, received some threats and hate mail. That has been upsetting. Our business has almost been destroyed."
"We are unhappy that the police pursued this case with such enthusiasm, and we feel the law needs to be clearer about free speech," said Mr Vogelenzang. "We are delighted that our legal system eventually came to the right decision, but we regret that it came to court at all.
"We are glad that we live in a country which has free speech. Many people have given up their lives in the last century to protect those freedoms. It seems such a shame that we appear to be losing our liberty."
They said that they forgave Mrs Tazi despite the stress caused by her claims and her alleged insults against Christianity.
"We have no ill feelings for Mrs Tazi and we are looking forward to getting on with our lives. We wish her all the best," said Mr Vogelenzang.