2nd June 2008
Christian Voice outreach to
10am, Saturday 14th June 2008
The ejection of two Christian preachers from a suburb of
by West Midlands Police will now lead to a Gospel outreach by Christian Voice.
Members of the group, known for its peaceful street witness which led to financial disaster for Jerry Springer the Opera, will spend a couple of hours on Saturday week giving out Christian leaflets and sharing the Gospel with passers-by in Alum Rock, a predominantly Muslim area east of Birmingham city centre.
Americans Arthur Cunnimgham and Joseph Abraham were interrupted by Naeem Naguthney, a Muslim Police Community Support Officer, as they were speaking to Muslim youths about their beliefs. He told them that converting Muslims to Christianity was a 'hate crime'.
Naguthney is known as a Muslim activist. He took a leading part in the recent launch of the
branch of the National Association of Muslim Police, at which he read from the Koran.
It is alleged Naguthney told the two preachers: 'You have been warned. If you come back here and get beat up (sic), well, you have been warned.' When he found out they were American, the men say he launched into a tirade about American foreign policy and became 'aggressive and threatening'.
But Naguthney was wrong to portray the area as violent, according to local people, who have urged others not to feel wary of visiting the
suburb. Following the conviction of Alum Rock resident Parviz Khan for terrorism, community leaders including
councillor Tariq Khan described
as peaceful and law-abiding. Barber Zahid Mahmmod said: "The area is very safe, and I don't think people need to be worried about coming here."
West Midlands Police said: 'The PCSO has been offered guidance about what constitutes a hate crime and advice on communication style.' However, as Naguthney summoned two other officers, one of whom, a full constable, is said to have told the preachers not to return to the area, an anti-Christian attitude could be prevalent in the force.
In the past, there have been instances of policemen targeting Christian preacher over remarks critical of homosexuality or adultery; Alison Redmond-Bate was wrongfully arrested in
in 1997. Harry Hammond was assaulted by homosexuals and then charged and convicted himself in 2001. In 2005 at Tower Bridge John Banda was told to take down a sign urging people to repent by police threatening him with Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986
Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, was arrested at a homosexual event in
in 2006 while handing out evangelistic leaflets. He was charged with a public order offence, only for embarrassed crown prosecutors to drop the case.
But action against Christians by Muslim police employees appears to be a new development.
Stephen Green said today:
'We don't really need a reason for a Gospel outreach, as taking the Good News of Jesus Christ is a Gospel imperative, but this case has given us one anyway. It is against the law for the Police to tell Christian preachers to shut up or move on, as the Redmond-Bate case established. And the rule of law applies in Alum Rock, just as it does at Speakers' Corner or any other part of this
The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, recently warned that it is hard for non-Muslims to live and work in some areas where radicals and clerics are trying to impose an Islamic character. But Stephen Green says: 'Here we have an instance where it is not local people turning an area into a Muslim ghetto, it is West Midlands Police.'
He continued: 'The case also raises concerns about the association of Islam and the Police. If people like Naguthney are using the British Police as a launching ground for Muslim activism, whether in the National Association of Muslim Police or in day-to-day police activities, then they should be expelled.
'It is less than two years ago when the then Home Secretary John Reid was asked by Abu Izzadeen at a meeting in Leyton,
: "How dare you come to a Muslim area when over 1,000 Muslims have been arrested?" There was an outcry, but now we find a Muslim police employee, someone his Chief Constable probably regards as a 'moderate', clearly has the same mind-set as a convicted terrorist.'
West Midlands Police recently lost a libel action after they investigated and then reported the Channel 4 Dispatches 'Undercover Mosque' programme to Ofcom because they said it quoted Muslim preachers out of context and 'damaged community cohesion'. Even after Ofcom ruled solidly against them, the West Midlands Assistant Chief Constable, Anil Patani, left a press release up on their website continuing to accuse the programme makers of distorting the words of the imans.
Stephen Green concluded: 'By the grace of God, this no-go area for the Gospel will be challenged. West Midlands Police Chief Constable Sir Paul Scott-Lee has an odd sense of humour creating a post of counter-terrorism and cohesion for Anil Patani to be in charge of. But with people like that at the top, and with its tarnished record, we need to ask how far up West Midlands Police the peculiar bias to Islam demonstrated by the Dispatches affair and Naeem Naguthney's attitude actually goes.'
We shall meet outside the Alum Rock sub post office at
at 10am on Saturday 14th June 2008. The venue is near the B4156 not far from
Alum Rock Road
Map link to the sub post office in