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Christian preacher to file lawsuit against police after false claims of ‘hate speech’ thrown out

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After a court refused to admit a “hate speech” case against her, a Christian street preacher in the United Kingdom says she’s suing the police for arresting her on the false accusation that she threatened to stab gays and non-believers while she was preaching outside a tube station.

A judge ruled this week that there was no case to answer as the words of Hazel Lewis, a 49-year-old preacher who was arrested under the Public Order Act while preaching outside Finsbury Park tube station in North London last February, had not been threatening or abusive, The Telegraph reported.

Lewis said she is now planning to sue the Metropolitan Police.

“I am delighted that the judge has seen through the lies and has vindicated me,” she was quoted as saying.

During her trial at Highbury Magistrates Court last month, Officer Stuart Day said that a video recording played before the court showed that one of her accusers “very much sounds like he is trying to goad her into commenting on his sexuality. She does not, however, take the bait.”

The accusation against the preacher included that she had made a child cry and used threatening language as she told one of the accusing men, “You are an advocate of Satan and I rebuke you in Jesus’ name,” according to Christian Today, which added that she told listeners that they should be more concerned with knife crime in their neighborhood than her peaceful preaching from the Bible.

Throwing out the case against Lewis, District Judge Julia Newton observed: “The defendant is alleged to have said, ‘you are an advocate of Satan and I rebuke you in Jesus’ name.’ I don’t find those words threatening. These words were certainly disagreed with. I do not find that they were abusive either.”

Newton added: “Further, in relation to distress. It is clear that (a witness) was disturbed and found them to be unpleasant. She said that other people were distressed. She said that she was distressed and found these words were unpleasant. However, that does not amount to harassment, alarm or distress. In addition, there is no evidence as to why the children were crying. Whilst there was a lot of noise, there were a lot of things that could have led the children to cry. I find that there is no case to answer.”

Christian street preachers not only have to contend not with hate-speech laws in the U.K., they also have to protect themselves against acts of violence, the news portal Spiked noted, citing a few recent cases of harassment.

Hatun Tash, an ex-Muslim who is now a critic of Islam and a Christian preacher, was stabbed at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park in London, it said. “The horrifying incident was captured on camera. Despite there being an estimated 30 witnesses, the perpetrator is still at large.”

Lewis also commented on the dangers street preachers face, adding: “There are dangers out on the streets — I have had urine thrown at me and have been threatened. But Christians are called to preach the Gospel of salvation and hope in any situation, no matter how tough, so I am not afraid. … Despite this experience, I am determined to keep preaching.”
Sources:Christian Post

 

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Taliban are carrying out mass executions, says Christian missionary helping Afghans

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Less than a month after the U.S. troops withdrew troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban have started arresting, and in some instances executing, people they perceive as their enemies. Recent photos and video suggest they’re killing as many as 30 to 40 at a time, Christian missionary David Eubank, a former U.S. Army Special Forces and Ranger officer, said in a media interview.

The way the United States pulled out is “dishonorable, and a horrible breaking of promises … and leaving thousands of people behind that we promised we’d take out with us including American citizens,” Eubank, who is from Free Burma Rangers and provides humanitarian services in war-torn areas, told CBN News.

In some instances, the pull-out has been “cowardly,” he continued, speaking from Tajikistan, which neighbors Afghanistan and where many Afghans are arriving after fleeing the Taliban.

“Taliban are hunting down people right now, trying to get all the names of anyone they perceive as an enemy,” Eubank said, adding that the enemies include “people who work with the U.S. government, people who are with other governments, people who work with non-governmental organizations they don’t agree with.”

Eubank, who is in Tajikistan to help Afghans, also said that “many have been executed. … I’ve seen recent photos of 30 to 40 people [being executed].”

Eubank clarified that he doesn’t know the scale of the killings or the arrests, “but I believe it’s countrywide now.”

The Taliban are allowing American citizens who have identity cards to escape, he continued, adding that “anyone who doesn’t have papers, anyone they perceive as an enemy, they are going to arrest them, and, in many cases, execute them.”

The people in Afghanistan “are in terror,” Eubank added.

According to its website, Free Burma Rangers have helped 1.5 million displaced persons to date who would have otherwise died.

In an interview with The Christian Post last year, Eubank shared: “I am motivated by what Jesus does for me and want to share His love and encourage people to follow Him. We are not to be led by comfort, fear or pride, but go in the love God gives us. We go into areas of direct combat to save lives and share love.”

Following the drawing down of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban quickly seized control of much of the country, taking the capital Kabul last month and forcing the government to flee.

The U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern warned last week that as the Taliban is cracking down on protests and journalists, concerns are also being raised among religious minorities of increased oppression and persecution because the Taliban have promised strict enforcement of Sharia law.

Almost all Afghan Christians — estimated to be between 8,000 and 12,000 — are converts from Islam and remain largely closeted and hidden from the public eye due to severe persecution.

“Their status as converts makes Afghan Christians direct targets for persecution by both extremist groups and society in general,” ICC reports. “In Afghanistan, leaving Islam is considered extremely shameful and converts can face dire consequences if their conversion is discovered.”
Sources:Christian Post

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ICC report on religious persecution of Christians in China over the past year

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International Christian Concern (ICC) has just published a new report on persecution in China. In it, ICC lists and analyzes over 100 incidents of Christian persecution between July 2020 and June 2021, a period marked by a significant campaign by the Chinese government to forcefully convert independent religious organizations into mechanisms of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

This forceful assimilation—also called Sinicization—has continued to intensify since it was introduced as part of the Four Requirements campaign launched in 2018. Since then, the government has only increased its attempts to use the Church for political purposes. It has gone as far as converting church buildings into propaganda centers and even regulating the content of sermons in order to promote communist party values.

Three-Self churches are part of the legal framework the CCP uses to systemically curb Christianity, including Catholicism. If a church is not registered as a state-sanctioned church, it is violating the law and the CCP can step in at any time to shut it down, prosecute individuals, and put enormous social pressure on attendees. As described in last year’s report, registered churches are at the mercy of laws that were passed entirely in contradiction to the constitution and enforced by multiple departments, bureaus, and agencies using them to suppress house church activity.

A significant trend throughout the past year was church raids. In them, not only were churches shut down or demolished, but pastors and church attendees were often arrested. One example of a church raid was in September 2020, in Sichuan province, when China’s Public Security Bureau of Nanbu deployed over 30 police officers to raid an underground Protestant house church, known as Sola Fide. When police arrived on the scene, they arrested 50 Sola Fide members. Throughout this process, the police tore down crosses and other Christian symbols and destroyed hymnals and Bibles.

With the intensified crackdown against churches, both state-vetted and underground, there is no longer a safe place to be a Christian in China. Almost every province in China has seen an increase in Christian persecution over the last year.

The Religious Affairs Bureau and the CCP have a single goal: to prevent religious influence from threatening their communist control.

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said, “China tightening down on people of faith comes as no surprise to observers. What is concerning is the depth and width of persecution and that it continues to expand. From Xinjiang to Sichuan, from state-sanctioned groups to underground churches, from verbal threats to imprisonment, believers in China are constantly watched and persecuted, as documented in ICC’s latest incident report. The international community should not appease Beijing and let it get away with its blatant disregard for human rights.”

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