A Christian preacher has been awarded £10,000 in damages from London’s Metropolitan Police for two wrongful arrests after she had complained to officers that she was facing threats and harassment by Islamists.
Hatun Tash, a Turkish-born evangelist and mainstay of Speakers’ Corner who is frequently critical of the Qur’an, has received £10,000 in financial compensation and an apology from the Met for being wrongfully arrested in 2020 and last year.
During both incidents, she had informed officers that Muslim protesters were threatening her, however, rather than seeking to protect her, the police arrested Tash for “breaching the peace”.
After one instance in which she was held by police for over 24 hours without charge, she brought legal action against Scotland Yard, with her legal team arguing: “The police should have protected her free speech by bringing more officers to Speakers’ Corner to facilitate her rights” rather than detain her to supposedly keep the peace.
According to a report in The Times, the police have now agreed to pay Tash damages as well as cover her legal costs.
In a letter of apology seen by the newspaper, Inspector Andy O’Donnell of the Met’s professional standards directorate said to Tash that the force is sorry “for the distress that you have suffered,” adding in bureaucratese that he was “satisfied that on these occasions the level of service did fall below the requisite standard”.
The woman, who is said to be the Christian preacher and prominent critic of Islam, Hatum Tash, was filmed being stabbed repeatedly by a hooded man at Speakers’ Corner https://t.co/QBdBtvh2eK
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 25, 2021
Despite Met officers apparently dismissing the Islamist threats to the Christian preacher as not credible, Tash was stabbed with a knife at Speakers’ Corner last year while wearing a Charlie Hebdo shirt, which depicted the Islamic prophet Mohammed.
Following the attack, Tash said: “In my early days, Speakers’ Corner was a much calmer place. Now it is not and I am regularly attacked by a Muslim mob.
“We don’t live in Pakistan, we don’t live in Saudi Arabia. I am Christian and by default, I believe that Muhammad is a false prophet. I should be allowed to say that in the UK.”
The Christian preacher went on to blame “police inaction” for the attack, saying that “it is heartbreaking that we live in a society where police do not want to arrest a Muslim for fear of being called Islamophobic.”
“My attacker was not even afraid of the police as he did it right in front of them,” Tash added.
Despite the incident being live-streamed at the time, there have still been no arrests in relation to the attack.
Commenting on the Met’s apology and payout to Tash, Toby Young of the Free Speech Union, which advocated for her at the time, said: “This is a good result, but the question is whether the police are going to mend their ways and stop arresting people for the non-crime of being ’offensive’. I’m not going to hold my breath.”
London’s Speaker’s Corner is Not Safe for Christians, Says Charlie Hebdo Stabbing Victim Hatun Tash https://t.co/3Hg98R5U2v
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 29, 2021
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