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Hotelier Ben Vogelenzang cleared of insulting Muslim guest
by Russell Jenkins
A district judge yesterday questioned the character of a Muslim convert as he dismissed the case against husband-and-wife Christian hoteliers accused of offending her new-found religion.
Ericka Tazi, 60, who converted when she married a Muslim man, had claimed that Ben Vogelenzang, 53, had called her a terrorist and compared Muhammad to a warlord when she wore a hijab on the last day of her stay at the Bounty House Hotel in Liverpool last March. She also claimed that his wife, Sharon, 54, told her that wearing such a garment represented a form of bondage, or oppression, in a finger-pointing tirade that left her traumatised.
After a two-day trial, Richard Clancy, a district judge sitting at Liverpool Magistrates' Court, threw out the allegations of religiously aggravated threatening behaviour, suggesting that Mrs Tazi's account could not be relied upon and that she was not quite the religious person that she presented herself as in the witness box.
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