Christians are persecuted not only in traditionally Muslim countries such as Turkey or Iran, but also in their homelands. In England two Christian activists were approached by a Muslim policeman and threatened to be arrested if they did not stop giving away their leaflets.
The episode, recently described by the Daily Telegraph, happened last February in the industrial city of Birmingham. Arthur Cunningham and Joseph Abraham – both unsuspecting and trustful American evangelical ministers in their second halves of their lives – hoped to bring Christianity back to the areas inhabited by immigrants from the Middle East and Pakistan.
What a surprise it was when they were accosted by a policeman who demanded they leave the area or face arrest. “I couldn’t believe this was happening in Britain. The Bishop of Rochester was criticized 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,” Abraham told the Daily Telegraph.
What is more, when it turned out that the two were American, the Muslim policeman became even more brutal. According to Cunningham, the officer instructed them how awful President George W. Bush was and why the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would bring an end to the United States. “I told him that this had nothing to do with the gospel we were preaching but he became very aggressive,” said Cunningham.
The evangelicals said that they had been told to leave the area as it was a Muslim area, and spreading Christian texts was forbidden there. Said Cunningham: “He said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message. He said we were committing a hate crime by telling the youths to leave Islam and said that he was going to take us to the police station.”
Great Britain is not the only European country where Christians may feel threatened. There are no-go precincts in France and Holland where Muslim immigrants constitute a growing number of the populations. Turkey, which hopes to join the European Union in the near future, is accused of harassing Christians, and even its foreign minister recently admitted that “there [was] no religious freedom.”
Dominated by left-wing activists, European Union agendas do very little or nothing to address the problem. In October of 2004, Rocco Buttiglione, an Italian politician and close friend of late Pope John Paul II, was rejected as a candidate for EU justice commissioner when he publicly declared that he was Catholic. His beliefs, said some of his colleagues, might infringe religious freedoms guaranteed by the European Union.
Europe praises its liberal policies that make the old continent a home for millions of people from around the world. Among them are many Muslims, often radical and impossible to modernize, who refuse to reciprocate the freedoms they receive from Christian communities. Soon, one no-go area in Birmingham may turn into one no-go Islamic Europe.