BEIRUT – A Lebanese judge has hit three Muslim young men who insulted Christianity with an unusual sentence in a country noted for its religious diversity.

Instead of handing down a jail sentence for the contempt of religion conviction, Joceline Matta on Saturday ordered the offenders to memorize verses from the Quran’s Al-i-Imran surah that glorify Prophet Jesus and his mother, Mary.

While reading out the verdict in court in Tripoli, North of Lebanon, Matta noted that her decision aims to teach the young men about Islam’s tolerance, the AlArabiya reported.

“The law is a school and not just a prison,” she said.

The decision was praised by Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Twitter. He saluted her for a decision which reflects justice and teaches mutual concepts between Muslims and Christians.

State Minister for Combating Corruption Nicolas Tueni also praised Matta and said her decision paves way towards innovative judicial approaches that help resolve social problems and religious intolerance.