Barney Zwartz, “The Age,” Australia – Two Christian pastors found to have vilified Muslims under Victoria’s religious hatred law have been granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. Justices Peter Buchanan and Geoffrey Nettle said yesterday in the Court of Appeal that doubtful or contested interpretations of the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act should be resolved. They said the act might limit freedom of speech implied in the Constitution. There are matters of importance to the administration of justice in this state,” Justice Buchanan said. The court granted a stay on an order by Judge Michael Higgins that the pastors, Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot, and Catch the Fire Ministries make public apologies through advertisements in The Age and Herald Sun, which would cost up to $68,000. But they left in place the orders that the pastors not repeat the allegedly offending material in Victoria or in Australia. The pastors’ barrister, Cameron Macaulay, SC, told the court that speaking on Islam was Scot’s vocation. The order would prohibit the Queenslander speaking to Queenslanders in Queensland, imposing Victorian law in that state. Justice Nettle said Mr. Macaulay was seeking carte blanche to continue conduct that had been found unlawful. Outside the court, Nalliah said it was a day to smile. But he said he was amazed that the pastors were sued when they constantly told everyone who heard them to love Muslims. In December, in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Judge Higgins upheld complaints from the Islamic Council of Victoria that Muslims had been vilified in a March 2002 seminar on jihad, on the Catch the Fire website and in a newsletter article. In June this year he told the pastors to make a public apology via newspaper advertisements and told them not to repeat the vilifying comments anywhere in Australia. Yesterday the pastors and Catch the Fire appealed on several grounds, including questioning the constitutional validity of the act and many alleged errors by Judge Higgins.