- “Christian street preachers should be free to share the gospel, even where it means challenging the beliefs of others.” — Christian Concern, in a petition to UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
- In recent years, dozens of Christians — clergy and non-clergy — in Britain have been arrested or fired from their jobs due to their faith. Much of the harassment is based on three sections of two British laws that are vague and open to subjective interpretations.
- At an appeal hearing at Bristol Crown Court, attorney Michael Phillips emphasized the importance of freedom of speech, even in cases where the speaker does not necessarily hold the views being expressed. Another attorney, Paul Diamond, argued that there is no right not to be exposed to contrary ideas. He added that should passers-by not wish to hear the preaching, they are able to walk away.
The unlawful arrest of a Christian street preacher in London has drawn attention to the continuing use of hate speech laws to silence Christians in multicultural Britain — even as incendiary speech by Muslim extremists is routinely ignored.
On February 23, Oluwole Ilesanmi, a 64-year-old Nigerian evangelist known as Preacher Olu, was arrested at Southgate Station in North London after complaints that his message about Jesus was “Islamophobic.” A video of the arrest, viewed more than two million times, shows how two police officers ordered the man to stop preaching because “nobody wants to listen to that,” confiscated his Bible and then arrested him for “a breach of peace.”
The video was filmed by Ambrosine Shitrit, co-founder of Eye on Antisemitism, a London-based organization that tracks anti-Semitism on social media. Shortly before Ilesanmi’s arrest, Shitrit had seen him interacting with another man, who turned out to be a Muslim. She thought the Muslim was about to assault Ilesanmi when she went over and started filming with her phone. When the police arrived in response to an emergency call, the Muslim man left the scene.
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