‘Don’t Take My Bible Away’: African Street Preacher Arrested in London for Preaching the Gospel
A Christian preacher was arrested in London Saturday as he preached the Gospel on a street corner. A video captured the police handcuffing the African man whose “crime” was telling others about Jesus. The police asked the man to stop sharing the Gospel. When he refused, they arrested him on breach of peace charge. Now Christian Concern — an organization that investigates religious freedom violations — is looking into the incident.
According to Faithwire, the London Metropolitan Police began investigating the arrest after a third party complained. In a statement posted by former British PM David Burrowes, the police department “respects and upholds the rights of all individuals to practice freedom of speech, and this includes street preachers of all religions and backgrounds.” Although a member of the public alleged that the preacher made Islamophobic statements, the police department admitted that “no language of this nature was used in the presence of officers.”
Christian Concern noted that after his arrest, the preacher was “dropped off in an unfamiliar suburb without enough money to get home.” Someone gave the preacher money, and praise God, he went back to the same spot and began preaching again.
How It All Began
The street preacher was preaching outside of Southgate Underground station in London. A video documented the arrest. It begins as one of the officers questions the man.
“What are you doing here?” the cop asked the preacher.
“I am preaching,” said the man.
“I’m going to require you to go away,” the cop told him.
“Never!” replied the preacher.
“Then I’m going to arrest you for breach of peace,” said the officer.
“What breach of peace?” the Christian man questioned.
“It’s what you’re doing at the moment,” said the police officer. “You’re causing problems — you’re disturbing people’s days and you’re breaching their peace. If you won’t go away voluntarily, we will have to arrest you.”
“I will not go away, because I need to tell them the truth — because Jesus is the only way, the truth and the life,” the preacher explained.
“But nobody wants to listen to that,” the officer said curtly. “They want you to go away.”
About that time, the cop handcuffs the preacher while another policeman takes his Bible away. “Don’t take my Bible away, Don’t take my Bible away,” the man said.
“You should have thought about that before being racist!” the second officer replied.
The Metropolitan Police admitted later that the man had not said anything that could be considered racism. While the police confirmed that the charge was breach of peace, they admitted that the preacher was “de-arrested” and that “no further action was necessary.”
The video prompted a response on Twitter.
Archbishop Cranmer tweeted “Dear @metpoliceuk, Setting aside the appalling ignorance of these two officers, would you handle a copy of the Qu’ran like that?”
Street Preacher: "Don't take my Bible away. Don't take my Bible away."
Police officer: "You should have thought about that before being racist."
Setting aside the appalling ignorance of these two officers, would you handle a copy of the Qur'an like that? https://t.co/xxplV9QkCB
— Archbishop Cranmer (@His_Grace) February 24, 2019
Father Matthew tweeted “This is deeply deeply concerning. The way his bible was removed is horrendous. These officers should be ashamed of themselves for the way they dealt with this.”
This is deeply deeply concerning. The way his bible was removed is horrendous. These officers should be ashamed of themselves for the way they dealt with this. https://t.co/apzj9HXKOf
— Father Matthew (@matthewcashmore) February 24, 2019
Gavin Ashenden tweeted “The police have closed down freedom of speech and become Christianophobic. If we fail to protest we will lose our freedom under the law. Begin by publicising this. #southgate #streetpreacher.”
The police have closed down freedom of speech and become Christianophobic. If we fail to protest we will lose our freedom under the law. Begin by publicising this. #southgate #streetpreacher. https://t.co/C99SfXpHHO
— Gavin Ashenden (@gavinashenden) February 25, 2019
Watch the amazing exchange:
This afternoon an African Christian preacher was arrested in London for preaching about Jesus Christ. This is very sad to see. What happened to freedom of speech? pic.twitter.com/BId74SOgun
— Obianuju Ekeocha (@obianuju) February 23, 2019