London’s Speakers’ Corner is Not Safe for Christians, Says Charlie Hebdo Stabbing Victim Hatun Tash

Hatun Tash
Screenshot (SOCO films via YouTube)

Hatun Tash, the victim of a stabbing at Speakers’ Corner on Sunday, said that the supposed “home of free speech” has become unsafe for Christians as a result of an increasingly belligerent “Muslim mob”.

Tash, an Evangelical street preacher who migrated from Turkey to the United Kingdom after converting from Islam to Christianity, said that she is a frequent target in Speakers’ Corner for her critiques of the Muslim religion.

“In my early days, Speakers’ Corner was a much calmer place. Now it is not and I am regularly attacked by a Muslim mob,” Ms Tash told The Times.

“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.”

Tash specifically blamed the London police for her attack on Sunday, in which a hooded man stabbed and slashed at her while she was wearing a t-shirt featuring images from Charlie Hebdo, the French magazine which was the victim of a 2015 Islamist terror attack after it published caricatures of Mohammed.

“Police inaction has led to what happened to me yesterday… It is heartbreaking that we live in a society where police do not want to arrest a Muslim for fear of being called Islamophobic,” she said.

“My attacker was not even afraid of the police as he did it right in front of them,” Tash added in an interview with The Sun, adding that she believed her attacker’s “intention was clearly to kill me”.

In footage taken at Speakers’ Corner as the attack took place, police can be seen arriving within seconds of the stabbing, yet no arrests have yet been made.

On Monday the Metropolitan Police announced that the case was now being led by the Met’s SO15 Counter Terrorism Command, however, the statement stressed that as of yet the police are not considering the attack terror-related and that so far no motive in the attack has been determined.

Tash said that two weeks prior to the latest attack against her, she had filed legal action against Scotland Yard, charing the capital’s police force with false arrest and imprisonment after she was forcibly removed from Speakers’ Corner last year after her Charlie Hebdo shirt enraged a group of Muslim men.

The evangelical preacher, who works with the Defend Christ, Critique Islam (DCCI) Ministries, said that she regularly tries to engage in dialogue about the problems she sees with the Islamic faith, including child marriage and women’s rights, and has claimed to have found discrepancies between different Arabic language versions of the Koran, an assertion which is deemed to be blasphemous by Muslims.

Her critiques of Islam have made Tash a figure of ire for some Muslim activists, some of whom have even petitioned to have her banned from Speakers’ Corner.

“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,” Tash said.

“I can’t believe this has happened in broad daylight at Speakers’ Corner. You do not expect such things to happen in Great Britain.”

The chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, Andrea Williams, who is supporting Tash, warned: “If Hatun is silenced by violence at Speakers’ Corner, we are all silenced.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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