En britisk sogneprest som kommenterte en rettssak hvor en muslimsk skoleelev gikk til retten for å få bære jilbab på skolen fikk uventet hjemmebesøk av polititjenestemenn fra avsnittet for hatkriminalitet. Fader John Hayes ble anmeldt for å initiere til rasehat etter at han i forbindelse med rettssaken uttrykte sitt kristen-teologiske synspunkt i et lokalt menighetsblad, der han blant annet hevdet at det ikke er mulig å overbevise noen med argumenter når det gjelder religion:
A sergeant and community support officer turned up without warning at his presbytery after an allegation was made to a Scotland Yard ‘hate crimes’ unit.
Last night the priest said his ‘offending’ remarks had concerned Shabina Begum, who, represented by Cherie Blair QC, claimed unsuccessfully that it was her human right to be allowed to wear her jilbab, a loose gown, in class.
After hearing an interview with the girl, Mr Hayes suggested in his internet bulletin to his parishioners that it was never possible to convince anyone by argument in matters of religion.
«My point was that you have to demonstrate what it means to be Christian through your actions,» he said.
«Apparently someone in my congregation was unhappy with my comments and, after waiting a year, went to the police to say he had been ‘disturbed’ by it.»
Politibesøket hos sognepresten karakteriseres som en inkvisisjon, og har forårsaket en rasende ordveksling internt og eksternt om politiets prioriteringer. I det aktuelle området har det de siste 12 måneder vært 5 mord, 22 voldtekter, 424 ran og 2267 innbrudd. Saken vekker også oppsikt fordi hatefulle ytringer fra muslimske predikanter samtidig går upåtalt hen i offentligheten:
The inquisition in Hornchurch, East London, prompted a furious row about policing priorities.
Yet, despite being accused of turning a blind eye to the inflammatory remarks of some Muslim preachers of hate, the Met still found time to quiz Mr Hayes.
A fortnight ago officers knocked on the door of his home next to St Mary’s Church, Hornchurch. They said they had been sent by a superintendent.
«They said they had come to see if I had intended to incite racial hatred,» the priest said. «I was pretty surprised. It seemed to me that political correctness had gone haywire in this situation.
«They were very polite and cordial, but I did say to them that surely they had better things to be doing with their time.
Internt mener flere politioffiserer at avgjørelsen om å avhøre sognepresten i beste fall er en grov politisk korrekt feilbedømmelse, og i verste fall et maktmisbruk som uansett bør få konsekvenser for den ansvarlige:
The decision to quiz Mr Hayes has infuriated many Met officers.
A source at the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said: «What happened is a gross error of judgment and possibly even an abuse of power.
«The senior officer who decided on this course of action should be called to account.
«It is yet another example of the political correctness which is blighting the Met. It is plain bonkers.»