Preachers barred from Muslim area

Police stopped two Christian preachers handing out Bible extracts in a Muslim area of the West Midlands and accused them of a “hate crime” by allegedly trying to convert Muslims, it has been claimed. A police community support officer (PCSO) is said to have told them: “You have been warned. If you come back here and get beaten up, well, you have been warned.” Americans Arthur Cunningham and Joseph Abraham are threatening to take West Midlands Police to court under the Human Rights Act if officers do not apologise. The force said the officer, Naeem Naguthney, aged 30, had been offered “guidance and advice” following an investigation into the dispute in the Alum Rock area of Birmingham. Abraham, aged 65, said: “He told us we were trying to convert Muslims to Christianity and that was a hate crime. He was very intimidating.” Cunningham, aged 48, a fellow American Baptist missionary, said: “He realised we were Americans and then started ranting at us about George Bush and American foreign policy. “He said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message. “I am dumbfounded that the police seem so nonchalant. They seem content not to make it clear that what we were doing was perfectly legal. To suggest we were guilty of a hate crime for spreading God’s word is outrageous.”