Police CSO tells Christians: 'you can't preach here, this is a Muslim area' A Police Community Support Officer stopped two church workers from handing out Christian leaflets in public in an area of Birmingham saying, "you can't preach here, this is a Muslim area."
PCSO Naguthney (30825) told the Christians they were committing a hate crime by attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity and said, "You have been warned. If you come back here and get beat up, well you have been warned."
The incident happened to Mr Arthur Cunningham and Mr Joseph Abraham as they were handing out Christian tracts on the corner of Ellesmere and Alum Rock Road on 19 February this year.
Lawyers acting for Mr Cunningham and Mr Abraham last week delivered a strongly worded letter to the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police. The letter gives notice that they are entitled to bring a claim against West Midlands Police for breach of their convention rights under Section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998.
Mr Cunningham and Mr Abraham are seeking a full and unreserved written apology, recognition that their convention rights were infringed by the conduct of the police officers, damages and reasonable legal costs.
The case is being backed by The Christian Institute.
HIGH Court law suit will be filed against West Midlands Police within weeks to set out claims that it breached the human rights of two Christian street preachers who were told to halt their religious mission in a Birmingham street.
Solicitors are drawing up papers which will see the force answer allegations that Arthur Cunningham and Joseph Abraham were threatened with arrest if they continued to hand out extracts from the Bible in Alum Rock.
After being told they were committing a “hate crime” the pair were warned that they would be beaten up if they returned to the predominately Muslim area.
The preachers, who both come from America but are based in Birmingham, were interrupted by a police community support officer as they passed leaflets to Asian youths.
February’s incident sparked anger among Christian campaigners and 65-year-old Mr Abraham said he feared parts of the country were becoming no-go zones for anybody who wanted to preach the gospel.
Solicitor Tom Ellis, from Manchester-based firm Aughton Ainsworth, said the papers would outline claims that two sections of the Human Rights Act – the freedom of religion and the freedom of expression – had been breached by the officer.
Unless police chiefs made a dramatic U-turn and issued an apology, the papers would be filed by next month.
“We will be issuing court proceedings in September unless there is an acknowledgement by the police that there was a breach of human rights,” said Mr Ellis.
“That would be enough to stop us filing the papers which are being prepared but we have not had a substantive reply to a letter we sent to the force in May.
“This is not about money, but the principle and I am confident that we will win on behalf of Mr Cunningham and Mr Abraham.”
Mr Ellis said it would be up to the court to resolve factual disputes about differing versions of the incident.
The legal proceedings are being funded by the Christian Institute, a charity which claims to be the guardian of human rights for all Christians.
Mr Abraham said he would not comment because legal action was pending and Mr Cunningham, aged 48, is currently out of the country.
A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “The professional standards department of West Midlands Police is continuing a thorough investigation into this complaint and as such it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”