Feature

En politimann bortviste to predikanter fra et muslimsk-dominert boligområde av Birmingham, med beskjed om at forkynning av evangeliet kvalifiserte til «hatecrime», dvs. rasisme.

Biskopen av Rochester vakte oppsikt da han tidligere år sa at det var ved å utvikle seg no-go areas for kristne i bestemte britiske byer. Flere av hans prestekolleger protesterte. Politimannens oppførsel tyder på offisiell aksept for at kristne predikanter ikke har noe i et muslimsk boligområde å gjøre. Det er bekreftelsen av et segregert samfunn.

Arthur Cunningham, 48, og Joseph Abraham, 65, er fulltidspredikanter.

The preachers, both ministers in Birmingham, were handing out leaflets on Alum Rock Road in February when they started talking to four Asian youths.

A police community support officer (PCSO) interrupted the conversation and began questioning the ministers about their beliefs.

They said when the officer realised they were American, although both have lived in Britain for many years, he launched a tirade against President Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr Cunningham said: «I told him that this had nothing to do with the gospel we were preaching but he became very aggressive.

«He said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message. He said we were committing a hate crime by telling the youths to leave Islam and said that he was going to take us to the police station.»

The preacher refused to give the PCSO his address because he felt the officer’s manner was «threatening and intimidating».

The ministers claim he also advised them not to return to the area. As he walked away, the PCSO said: «You have been warned. If you come back here and get beaten up, well you have been warned».

De to har nå anlagt sak mot West Midlands-politiet, som ikke vil beklage, men sier de har orientert politimannen om hva som er en hate-crime.

Christian preachers face arrest in Birmingham