In my inbox this morning, a note from the Christian Institute about two Christians in Birmingham who were confronted by police and told that by talking to Muslim youths about Christianity they were committing a hate crime – and that they might get beaten up if they went there again. The area being “a Muslim area,” they were advised that it was a crime to express their Christian beliefs there, and apparently told not to come back.
This is obviously completely illegal and the police personnel involved were going far beyond their powers. It’s never illegal to distribute Christian literature in public places, and the police have no right to interfere with people’s freedom of religion and freedom of expression. But West Midlands police have so far refused to apologise, apparently failing to see how serious the actions of the officers were.
Here’s the Christian Institute’s article, with links to more details about the incident in various news sources, plus a link to a letter which solicitors for the evangelists sent to the police.