Christian Concern is crowing over a decision to drop charges against street preacher Pastor Oluwole Ilesanmi, 62, who was arrested for using threatening and abusive language in a rant against Islam.
Preaching on the High Road in Wood Green, London, on 24 June 2017, Ilesanmi, of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, UK, told passersby that there was a connection between terrorism and what is written in the text of the Koran.
Christian Concern reports that a Muslim and two “political activists” then pressed charges. Although he was charged by the police with an Islamophobic hate crime, the Crown Prosecution Service, having considered written representations from the Legal Centre’s allied solicitor Michael Phillips, decided to discontinue the charge prior to trial.
Two white non-Muslim political activists approached and accused him of preaching lies, and of being Islamophobic. He responded that the Bible speaks the only truth and that people need to give their lives to the Lord Jesus.
He was charged by police under Section 5 of the Public Order Act for using threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress which was racially aggravated.
Michael Phillips argued in written submissions to the CPS that the law provides the freedom for him to preach the Christian message, a freedom which has been upheld in the courts for many years. The CPS accepted these submissions and dropped the case.
After charges were dropped, Ilesanmi thanked the Christian Legal Centre and said:
I am in the United Kingdom to bring back the true message of the gospel that Christians many years ago brought to Nigeria. I have seen first-hand what sadly many Christians have suffered in Nigeria.
It is ironic that I was accused of exactly what the Muslims are doing in my country and so many other countries around the world. When will the UK wake up and realise that submission to Islam is not the answer, that only the Lord Jesus Christ is the answer to the UK’s problems?
I was interviewed, charged and put on trial for being a hate preacher. I have never been such a person, I have only preached about the love of Jesus. But the most loving thing that a preacher can do is tell people the truth not just about the gospel but also about false religions, such as Islam.
Andrea Williams, above, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre added:
We are proud to represent street preachers from all over the world who sadly are being arrested and put on trial more and more frequently. Again, the police simply do not appear to know or understand about the legal freedoms that street preachers have in the UK.
We would urge the police to educate their officers so that innocent Christians don’t continue to be arrested.