Christian Union Banned From Holding Meetings on College Premises

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: June 7, 2016

A Christian union has been banned from holding meetings on college premises, as a result of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy "Prevent".

Explaining the situation, Toni Coulton, the director of Festive, which supports Christians in further education and sixth-form colleges, said: "Senior management were not happy to have Christians meeting for prayer and fellowship and the reason they gave was because of the Prevent initiative." Mrs Coulton said that there had been no complaints of inappropriate behaviour by the group. She has been advising members of the union at the further education college. Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre, commented on the incident, saying: "Something has gone seriously wrong in this country if young people are not allowed to meet for normal Christian fellowship. It is difficult to believe that they could pose a security threat." The Prevent strategy to tackle 'extremism' at universities and colleges was implemented last Autumn. In a consultation document in 2014, the government said that the initiative would tackle all terrorist threats, but although it mentioned Islamic extremism and the 'far right', it did not specify that Christians would also be targeted. It is believed that this is the first time a Christian group has been targeted under the government initiative. Source: Christian Concern