On February 28, two London street preachers, Michael Overd and Michael Stockwell, were found guilty of public disorder offenses under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 at a Bristol Magistrates' Court. They were each ordered to pay £2,016 ($2,460) in fines and costs.
The two men were part of a group of four friends who were preaching in Bristol's Broadmead Shopping Center, in July, 2016. The speakers took turns addressing the crowd, answering questions and objections. There was heated debate over the differences between Islam and Christian belief, with several hecklers supporting Islam. Mr Stockwell had a debate with a Muslim man in which both expressed their opposition to the other's religious beliefs.
The police arrived about an hour into the presentation, and began filming the debate with a "GoPro" camera. They later questioned several listeners who had been present.
Crown prosecutor Ian Jackson (no known relation to Dan Jackson), in addressing the argument that Overd and Stockwell were just quoting the King James version of the Bible, stated, "although the words preached are included in a version of the Bible in 1611, this does not mean that they are incapable of amounting to a public order offense in 2016."
Jackson also set himself up as the arbiter of religious truth: "To say to someone that Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth. To the extent that they are saying that the only way to God is through Jesus, that cannot be a truth." So crown prosecutors under Theresa May's government are now holding forth on what can and cannot be theological truth. Not for nothing was this called "a modern-day heresy trial."
The omnipresent dynamic of a confident and assertive Islam versus self-loathing, degenerate, and suicidal Western governing elites was also on full display.
In responding to the judgment, Mr. Stockwell said: "There is a very disturbing pattern here. We declare Jesus' message and critique rival beliefs such as Islam. Some people don't like what we say, and threaten violence to silence us. Then, instead of defending free speech and protecting us, the police shut down free speech to avoid public disorder. And then a court convicts us of provoking disorder and risking violence!"
"Something has gone badly wrong. This gives a green light to Islamists and other groups to silence speech that they don't like, simply by threatening disorder or violence. Freedom of speech is under assault. People should be free to express their beliefs in public, without risk of harm, violence or other repercussions."
This case represents another example of creeping sharia, with public criticism of Islam being criminalized in countries that have even very modest Muslim minorities (Britain is about 5% Muslim). When a Western country imports even a relatively small Muslim minority, freedom of speech and of religion are the inevitable casualties, so terrifyingly violent are the Muhammadans, and so urgent the need to appease them.