So an elderly man of African descent is preaching the gospel, much-loved bible in hand, outside London’s Southgate station on Saturday afternoon, 23rd
Someone apparently reports him and because London is so crime free, two officers, with so much time on their hands and no other urgent calls to attend to, (you know, murders, rapes, stabbings, youth mugging numerous teenagers in the Southgate area, etc.), promptly arrive to check out this very dangerous old man hell-bent on harassing passersby.
They’re a tad aggressive in their approach and not in the mood for being told they too will face damnation (unless they repent). They proceed to question the elderly gentleman who bravely refuses to leave his post because his message is not complete and in his eyes, saving souls is far more important than bowing to two officers who clearly need salvation. Perhaps it’s the mention of hell or themselves being answerable to God one day that tips them over the edge. The officers decide this clearly benign gentleman needs to be handcuffed for ‘disturbing the peace.’ And in case he should cause grievous bodily harm with his soft-covered bible – you know, perhaps whack someone over the head, the one very brave officer grabs the bible amidst quite heartfelt pleas of “don’t take my bible away …” The policeman’s answer: “Well you should have thought of that before you were racist!” What? Now he’s racist? Not great publicity for London’s Metropolitan Police is it? Harassing a defenseless old man? Oh wait, he had a bible in his hand.
An eyewitness told Barnabas Fund that, before the police arrived, the preacher was being confronted aggressively by a young man, apparently Muslim and in his 20s, wearing a hooded top. The man was loudly abusive about the Bible and God with his face close to the preacher’s. The young man also threatened the preacher, brandishing a closed fist holding prayer beads.
When the police arrived to question the street preacher they were witnessed saying that there had been a complaint of “Islamophobia” made against him. It is not known at the time of writing who made the complaint to the police. The young man ran away from the scene as soon as the police appeared.
For a department that is so quick to Tweet every second of police activity in London, it is strange then, that their publicity machine failed to realise that Twitter is a rather voracious animal. Before long, the footage of the preacher went viral. Within a day there were over a million views. People were outraged. But not so the London Metropolitan Police. Asleep at the wheel, they were.
Blogger and author, Obianuju Ekeocha, questioned why they were so quick to post every single detail of their busy day on Twitter but failed to mention the arrest of a helpless old man preaching the gospel. In a supposedly Christian country with supposed freedom of speech. Strange, isn’t it? She thought so too so asked them for a response. They asked her instead to direct message them.
And in the ensuing interchange, they admitted that the elderly man had been reported for ‘apparent Islamaphobia’. They subsequently added that they found no proof of this and he was “de-arrested”. Firstly, that’s an awful word to use and their publicity people need to find another one, and secondly, that response is outrageous. To be handcuffed in public, on a vague hearsay report, has an ugly whiff about it.
It’s particularly outrageous given the fact that there are many other people of religions happily preaching their faith on the streets of London with no handcuffs involved. Preaching rather aggressively, I may add.
Again, Twitter is a wonderful thing and some bright spark managed to find exact footage of a Muslim preacher and spliced the screen so we could have a look at exactly how biased the London Metropolitan police are. The outcry has been swift. And not just from Christians—from atheists, Muslims and other religions too who are incensed by their double standards.
The mind boggles.