Two Christian preachers were stopped from handing out Bible tracts by police officers because they were in a Muslim neighborhood in England.
According to British news reports, the preachers were told by a Muslim community support police officer in Birmingham that attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity is a hate crime.
They were warned that if they came back and were beaten up, it would be their fault, not that of the thugs who beat them.
"He said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message," one of the preachers said. "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 officer threatened, “If you come back here and get beaten up, well you have been warned."
Remember, this was not in the Middle East. It was a neighborhood in Birmingham, England, a nation whose official church is the Church of England, a Christian denomination.
The preachers were Americans who have lived in England for many years and they were obeying Christ's command to preach the Gospel to all mankind and not merely to those who are not offended by hearing His message of love. It's called freedom of speech. Except in England where it is a hate crime to preach in what have become “no-go” areas for Christian preachers.
It gets worse. British columnist Melanie Phillips reported an attack on the Rev. Michael Ainsworth by three Muslim youths in his own East London churchyard. She wrote that it was far from the first such attack in the area. Indeed, she wrote, "There appear to have been many attacks on vicars or churches by Muslims who are clearly intent on turning east London into a no-go area for Christians."
Phillips recalled another attack on the church, where families were showered with glass when a brick was thrown through a window during a service. Allan Ramanoop, a member of the Parochial Church Council, told her that parishioners are often too scared to challenge the gangs.
On one occasion, youths shouted: "This should not be a church, this should be a mosque, you should not be here."
Said Ramanoop, "I just walked away from it -- you are too frightened to challenge them. We have church windows smashed two to three times a month. The youths are anti-Christian."
The Reverend Alan Green said it was the latest in a series of “faith hate” crimes in the borough. “There are one or two incidents of faith hate every month across the borough and across all faiths.”
Talk about hate crimes.