by Charles Gardner —
The stabbing of a woman evangelist at Speakers’ Corner in London – regarded as the bastion of free speech – is a shocking reflection on the state of our once Christian nation.
But it also reflects the fact that both here, in Israel and all over the world, there is an intense battle for the truth, which will culminate – possibly in the near future – in the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the midst of the Covid pandemic, Prime Minister Boris Johnson dared to quote Jesus saying he was “the way, the truth and the life,” a claim recorded by the Apostle John (chapter 14, verse 6) in his gospel account.
Hatun Tash, a former Muslim who is now a Christian, regularly critiques and debates the Koran at the iconic Hyde Park venue revered throughout the world for providing the opportunity of saying exactly what you think.
But last Sunday afternoon, while quietly speaking to another member of the public about Christianity, she was attacked and stabbed multiple times by a man in a black Islamic robe, suffering injuries to her face and hand.
It is well known that those who convert from Islam are deemed to have committed apostasy which, according to Sharia Law is deserving of death.
Shocking video footage from Sunday’s incident has revealed a man clad in black, with a hood and face mask, unleashing a series of violent stabs at Hatun’s throat and body which left her with wounds to her face and hands.
She collapsed with blood running down her face and was seen wearing a Charlie Hebdo T-shirt referencing the fatal Islamic attack on journalists at a magazine in France. Following the attack on Hatun, the man immediately fled the scene and discarded the knife.
Hatun has since been interviewed about the incident by campaigning group Christian Concern, whose Legal Centre has been supporting her, and counter-terrorism are understood to be investigating the case, which raises the question of whether the UK is implementing Sharia Law through the back door.
Police have repeatedly failed to protect Hatun or make any arrests after she was assaulted and threatened. Instead, she herself has been arrested and detained overnight in a police cell for challenging Islam.
As director of the ministry Defend Christ Critique Islam, Hatun has been regularly engaged in hot debate with Muslims over the inconsistencies of the Koran, claiming that there are as many as 37 different versions of the holy book, and has seen many Muslims turn to Christ.
But things apparently got to such a pitch last autumn that police escorted her away from the venue – ostensibly for her own safety, but effectively (by forbidding criticism of Islam) imposing Sharia Law on a piece of England that, since 1872, has been a bastion of free speech.
Christian Concern spokesman Tim Dieppe explained: “They acted to protect Islam from criticism…It should have been those making threats who were removed, not Hatun. The result was that a Christian preacher was silenced by police in the home of free speech.”
She was warned at the time that she would be arrested if she returned. She obviously made the same choice – when it comes to obeying God or man – as that of the first disciples by continuing to publicly proclaim the truth about Jesus, about whom the Bible says that “Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
After being warned not to continue speaking of Jesus, the Apostles Peter and John replied: “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18-20)
Fast-forward to London, 2021, and we have a similar situation. Yet the very floor of our Parliament is inscribed (in Latin) with the words of King Solomon from Psalm 127: “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain.”
As I recounted in my editorial this week, when Queen Victoria was asked by an African prince for the secret of England’s success, she handed over a beautifully-bound copy of the Bible for his ambassadors to give him.
But now Christians in England are fighting battles on several fronts – not only with Covid, but from increasing attempts to shut down their voice.
I don’t know about not cowering to Covid, an expression used by Health Secretary Sajid Javid, but we seem to be cowering to every woke pressure that raises its ugly head, with criticism of Islam near the top of the list.
Yes, there are fanatics among our Muslim friends who are determined to carry out Islamic teaching to the letter, but I’m sure that most Muslims would respect Christians prepared to stand up for what they believe.
For her part, Hatun said: “I’m here because it wasn’t my time. God has been gracious to me. The Lord has not told me to stop. I am convinced I have not broken any law or incited hate. All I did was question Islam and I wanted to debate, discuss and to tell people about Jesus Christ.
“Police inaction has led to what happened to me. My attacker was not even afraid of the police as he did it right in front of them. It is heart-breaking that we live in a society where police do not want to arrest a Muslim for fear of being called Islamophobic.”
As I said last autumn, Christians are entering a period of greatly increased pressure, which will demand matching courage along with the readiness to forgive our persecutors. We need to be clothed with the full armour of God, “for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph 6:12)