Street preachers in the United Kingdom increasingly face censorship.
Some have been branded as “homophobic” for reading Bible passages condemning same-sex relationships. And many, as in the latest reported case, have been labeled “Islamophobic” for declaring that Jesus is the only way to salvation.
In the Feb. 23 incident, police officers told the preacher, whose name was not disclosed, that nobody wants to hear him and he must shut up and go away.
He didn’t, so they arrested him, reported BizPacReview.
Seen video of the incident:
A Christian preacher this afternoon was arrested at Southgate station London N14 for preaching about Jesus . @CConcern the police told him it’s because public had said he was being islamophobic . We have the full video and wondered when preaching was now illegal ? @Campaign4T pic.twitter.com/ZxC1DhlZCf
— EyeOnAntisemitism (@AntisemitismEye) February 23, 2019
The video was posted by Twitter user EyeOnAntisemitism, who wrote that the Christian preacher was arrested at Southgate station in London.
“The police told him it’s because public had said he was being islamophobic. We have the full video and wondered when preaching was now illegal,” the tweet said.
The worldwide Christian ministry Barnabas Fund asked police for a copy of the complaint. Later, Barnabas wrote on Twitter, “We’re still waiting.”
The nonprofit group Christian Concern said it spoke with the minister, who said police ultimately dropped him off in a suburb without enough money to get home, but “thankfully a kind member of the public” helped him.
The preacher, thought to be Nigerian, had been accosted by a Muslim activist shortly before the video, according to Barnabas Fund.
Police cited him for “breach of the peace” while he was speaking outside Southgate Underground Station.
“The preacher pleaded peacefully with two white police officers not to take away his Bible,” Barnabas Fund said. “In a humiliating arrest, they placed his arms behind his back in handcuffs and took the Bible from him and one officer can be heard replying, ‘You should have thought about that before being racist [sic].'”
The report continued: “In a verbal exchange recorded in a two-minute video, one officer tells the unidentified preacher that he was ‘required to go away’ because he was ‘disturbing people’s days’. The preacher responded, ‘I will not go away because I need to tell them the truth. Jesus is the only way, truth and life.'”
Barnabas Fund said an eyewitness confirmed the preacher was “being confronted” by a man who apparent was Muslim.
“The man was loudly abusive about the Bible and God with his face close to the preacher’s. The young man also threatened the preacher, brandishing a closed fist holding prayer beads,” the report said.
That would correspond with the initial claim from police that there was a complaint about “Islamophobia.”
The ministry said the video had received millions of views from West African countries such as Ghana and Nigeria.
“The arrest of the Nigerian preacher in north London appears to have been unlawful. The video shows the police telling the man that he must stop preaching. However, it is not lawful for a police officer to order someone to stop preaching unless their actions incite violence,” Barnabas Fund said.
The group said that in 1997, Alison Redmon-Bate was the first street preacher to be arrested in Britain since the 19th century.
One of the officers simply told the preacher: “You’re preaching. I am going to require you to go away.”
“You can never,” the preacher exclaims.
“OK, then I will arrest you for breach of peace, plain and simple,” the cop states.
“It’s what you’re doing at the moment. You’re posing problems. You’re disturbing people’s days, and you’re breaching their peace,” police said.
The man says: “I will not go away, because I need to tell them the truth. Jesus is the only way, the truth and life.”
WND reported in 2017 two street preachers were convicted of “public order offenses” for quoting the King James Bible.
Prosecutors said freedom of speech must yield to a “multicultural” agenda.
Previously in Manchester, a street preacher was wrongfully arrested and ended up with an out-of-court settlement of about $20,000.
Under the European Convention on Human Rights, people have freedom of religion and expression, which includes the freedom to impart information and ideas without interference by a public authority.
In 2008, a street preacher was arrested for reading a passage from Romans, which discusses homosexuality.
A member of the public had complained.