police stop street evangelism in birmingham

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.

3 thoughts on “police stop street evangelism in birmingham

  1. Unfortunately, the government passed a whole lot of vague legislation on inciting religious hatred that is completely open to interpretation according to whim. Interesting to see that one religious group can incite hatred against another. This could get complicated…


  2. Yes the religious hatred legislation was & is fundamentally misconceived and was opposed by most Christians (individuals & groups) that i’m familiar with.

    This story seemed more like the misapplication of police powers tho – categorising something as a hate crime when the hate legislation is irrelevant as far as you can tell from the reports.

    The attitude of the police officers was another highly objectionable aspect of the incident (actually 1 actual police constable and 2 police community support officers whose real status i’m still a bit hazy about) – confrontational & aggressive/intimidating.

    In the media it’s been reported as in the context of recent comments about the existence of “Muslim no-go areas” where non-muslims are unwelcome – a bit predictable perhaps – but the Christian Inst’s take on it seems to be the religious liberty angle. The voicing of Christian beliefs has led to police interference in other cases recently too, both in actual street evangelism and in the more everyday lives of individual christians. Presumably it’s ignorance on the part of the police not some conspiracy to silence christian teaching/practice – but that’s hardly reassuring either.


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