Wrongly Arrested Missionary Wins £2,500
Wrongly Arrested Missionary Wins £2,500Follow @KnightsTempOrg
Once upon a time, Britain sent missionaries to Godless Africa, where they were often killed. Now, Africa sends missionaries to Godless Britain, and increasingly they are persecuted (although not yet eaten!). Oluwole Ilesanmi aged 64 was accused of being Islamophobia when he was preaching outside Southgate Tube station in London in February of 2019.
The incident was caught on tape and republished by this site and many others. In the end it was seen by millions of people.
In the video, a police officer takes his bible away as another officer says: “You should’ve thought about that before being racist.” He was then driven miles away and suddenly de-arrested. The Met police claim to have offered the preacher a lift back to the station again after removing him.
Scotland Yard has admitted its officers’ wrongdoings and has agreed to pay Mr Ilesanmi £2,500 for wrongful arrest and his humiliating and distressing treatment.
A Met spokesman said: “The Met respects and upholds the rights of all individuals to practice freedom of speech, and this includes street preachers of all religions and backgrounds.
“However, if the language someone uses is perceived as being a potential hate crime, it is only right that we investigate.
“In this case, it was deemed appropriate to remove the man from the area.”
The Christian Legal Centre (CLC), who championed Mr Ilesanmi’s case, has demanded the Home Secretary investigate guidance and training given to police officers nationwide on the freedom to preach in public. On Tuesday Mr Ilesanmi will deliver a petition demanding such to the Home Secretary, the petition has over 38,000 signatures.
Mr Ilesanmi said: “I am glad that the police have recognised that it was not right to arrest me for preaching from the Bible.
“It was traumatic being arrested and left many miles from my home. But God was always with me and even though I was left in a place I did not know, I was determined to get back to Southgate and start preaching the gospel again.”
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “Street preaching has a long and honoured history in the UK. In many ways, it is symbolic of the kind of freedoms we have treasured in this nation.
“However despite laws that theoretically support the freedom to preach in public, in practice, police officers are quick to silence preachers at the first suggestion that a member of the public is offended.
“Freedom of speech means that each one of us needs to be able to critique all religions and ideas without immediately being labelled and silenced as offensive.”