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Police standards investigation opened after arrest of Nigerian street preacher in London


5 March 2019

The Metropolitan Police has ordered its Professional Standards Unit to begin a review into the arrest of Oluwole IIesanmi, a Nigerian street preacher, on Saturday 23 February in front of Southgate Tube station, north London.

Police officers said they arrested Mr IIesanmi, “in order to prevent a breach of the peace”.

According to Helen Millichap, Chief Superintendent and Enfield Borough Commander, the officers responded to a 999 call at 13:55 on Saturday 23 February from a member of the public who claimed that Mr IIesanmi had made “Islamophobic” comments and been confronted by “a small number” of people. According to the arresting officers, a second witness “supported the allegations made by the original caller”.

Caption
Officers "deemed it appropriate to remove" street preacher Oluwole Ilesanmi from the area, according to Chief Superintendent Helen Millichap

In the statement the Commander further justified the arrest by describing the preacher’s activities as being “perceived as being a potential hate crime”. However, nothing in the eyewitness account or video suggests that this was the case.

The police response also contradicts eye witness accounts by failing to make mention of the young man in a hooded top seen aggressively confronting the street preacher threatening him, before fleeing when the police arrived.

The term “Islamophobia” means fear and hatred of the religious ideology Islam. But the term is often misused to mean fear and hatred of Muslim people as well. 

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