British police take street preacher away as “his message about Jesus is Islamophobic.”
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.
The video shows Ilesanmi pleading with police, “Don’t take my Bible away. Don’t take my Bible away.” An officer responded: “You should have thought about that before being racist.”
A popular blogger known as Archbishop Cranmer tweeted what many people doubtless felt: “Dear @metpoliceuk, Setting aside the appalling ignorance of these two officers, would you handle a copy of the Qur’an like that?”
Christian Concern launched a petition asking Home Secretary Sajid Javid to do more to ensure that the police are trained to act within the law.
“A video of street preacher Oluwole Ilesanmi being arrested outside Southgate Underground station has been seen by millions of people worldwide.
It’s not the first time a Christian street preacher has been wrongly arrested in the UK.
“Christian street preachers should be free to share the gospel, even where it means challenging the beliefs of others.
Christian Concern CEO Andrea Williams added:
“Despite laws that theoretically support the freedom to preach in public, in practice, police officers are quick to silence preachers after any suggestion (often false) of Islamophobia or homophobia.
This is not only unjust but kills free speech through self-censorship. We want to see police officers protect the freedom of street preachers by only using their powers when truly necessary.”
In recent years, dozens of Christians — clergy and non-clergy — in Britain have been arrested or fired from their jobs due to their faith.
Source: https: gatestoneinstitute.org