* There are no NO-GO zones in England. Repeat after me: there are no NO-GO zones in England. But but but what is this then….?
A police community support officer ordered two Christian preachers to stop handing out gospel leaflets in a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham.
Warned: Arthur Cunningham [left] and Joseph Abraham
The evangelists say they were threatened with arrest for committing a “hate crime” and were told they risked being beaten up if they returned. The incident will fuel fears that “no-go areas” for Christians are emerging in British towns and cities, as the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, claimed in The Sunday Telegraph this year.
Arthur Cunningham, 48, and Joseph Abraham, 65, both full-time evangelical ministers, have launched legal action against West Midlands Police, claiming the officer infringed their right to profess their religion.
Mr Abraham said: “I couldn’t believe this was happening in Britain. The Bishop of Rochester was criticised by the Church of England recently when he said there were no-go areas in Britain but he was right; there are certainly no-go areas for Christians who want to share the gospel.”
Algeria: “Christian evangelists engage in secret activity that violates the Koran and the Sunna in one way or another”
By Hamid Ould Ahmed
ALGIERS, May 31 (Reuters) – Algeria hit back on Saturday at foreign accusations minority Christians are harassed, saying Protestant evangelicals were secretly trying to divide Algerians to colonise the mainly Muslim north African country.
Abu Amrane Chikh, head of the government-appointed Higher Islamic Council, said uproar in the West over a recent prosecution of an Algerian woman on a charge of practising Christianity was being fomented for the benefit of foreigners.
“There are some church evangelists and reformist journalists who want to sow discord among brothers, and their long-term political goal is to create a Christian minority coupled with some foreign institutions,” he said in an interview with the website of the El Khabar daily newspaper.
“This is a new form of colonization that is hidden behind freedom of worship,” said Chikh, whose body regulates religious practice in the former French colony.
“The evangelist movement is characterized by a secret activity that violates the Koran and the Sunna in one way or another,” he said, referring to Islam’s holy book and Islamic practice based on words and deeds of the Prophet.
Christian groups overseas accused the overwhelmingly Muslim Mediterranean country of religious repression after a Muslim woman in her mid-30s appeared in court this month accused of “practising a non-Muslim religion without authorisation”.
Critics, including some of Algeria’s liberal French-language dailies, said the woman, Habiba Kouider, was breaking no law simply by practising her religion and added that the constitution guaranteed individual religious freedom.
The state prosecutor demanded she be jailed for three years.
*Â Perhaps Western countries should enact laws that would put Muhammedan clerics engaged in proselytizing behind bars for 4 years….
The case, which continues, follows state-ordered closures of several churches under a law passed in 2006 that limits non-Muslim worship to specific buildings approved by the state.
Algeria is almost totally Muslim. According to officials, less than 10,000 Christians, including expatriates, live in the country of 33 million. Most of its Christian colonial settler population fled shortly after independence from France in 1962.
Secular liberals suspect tightening curbs on Christian activity is a headline-grabbing tactic to pander to Islamists and divert attention from a worsening economic situation.
But Chikh said in the case of Kouider Algeria was concerned to ensure respect for a provision in the 2006 law that forbids non-Muslims from seeking to convert Muslims.
“This law requires that Christians and Muslims are to exercise their religious rites in full transparency in a place reserved for that purpose and belonging to an accredited religious institution,” Chikh added.
“There is no movement opposed to Christians as alleged by some tendentious minds. It is only about respecting Islam in a Muslim country, just as one must respect the Christian religion in a Christian State.” (Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; editing by William Maclean and Mary Gabriel)