"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Church Group Banned from Britain Under Terror Laws

Officialdom in Britain has gone mad. Not in a good way, either. It seems that the less reason there is for someone in a position of authority to be overzealous, the more rigorously he will be so, and the more he will enjoy it and be backed up by his bosses.

Take the following story, in which a group of American religious volunteers who had come to Britain to help do up a church were deported before entry:

A group of religious volunteers who saved for a year to visit Britain were left in tears after they were turned away under "anti-terror" rules.

The 14 American Methodists were planning to renovate an Islington church and sightsee in London during a nine-day trip costing £10,000.

But they were refused entry at Gatwick after failing to fill in the correct forms, and claim they were "treated like criminals". Pastor Jim Dawson, who led the group from the First United Methodist Church of Okeechobee, Florida, said he had "pleaded and pleaded" with immigration officials for his party to be able to stay.

"I said, 'Have mercy. We're a church group. We're not terrorists. We're not threatening anyone's national security." People were crying when they heard they were being sent back. We'd all been looking forward to the visit for so long. This law is without compassion or understanding.

"All we wanted to do was to help our sister church in Islington prepare for its anniversary and do a bit of sightseeing. We'd pre-booked for the musical Wicked at the Apollo theatre and planned to go to Windsor Castle and have a decent cup of English tea."

Under rules designed to deter illegal workers and potential terrorists, all religious workers and charity workers are required to apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship and a visa. American tourists do not require visas.

The group believed they did not need a sponsorship form as they only were volunteering for a few days. However immigration officers at Gatwick said that as the visit included voluntary work the group should be classified as charity workers rather than tourists - and could not be admitted without a Certificate of Sponsorship.

Officials then fingerprinted the group, who arrived at 6.40am on Tuesday, and sent them back on two separate flights four hours later.

The group had held a series of fundraising events to pay for the trip, but will now lose the £10,000 cost of pre-booked hotels, theatre and sightseeing trips.

They had planned to spend four days painting Islington Central Methodist Church in Liverpool Road for an anniversary celebration yesterday, when the building was due to be rededicated.

The group is back in Florida after more than 20 hours on flights to and from Britain.

The Rev Paul Weary, of Islington Central Methodist Church, had asked whether the group could be admitted as tourists on assurance they would not engage in any prohibited unpaid work, but officials refused.

He said: "It is extraordinary that individuals offering a few days of unpaid work should fall into the same category as charity workers staying in the UK for a year."

Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry said: "They were only painting a church. This is a question of scale. I suggest the officers should have looked more carefully at the discretion they have."

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: "All migrants, not just charity workers, coming to the UK to work or study require a Certificate of Sponsorship. Anyone without this certificate and the right visa will be refused entry."

Note the very last line - the quote from the UK Border Agency official. Referring to these people as 'migrants'.

The fact of the matter is, if they had been coming to settle here, to live off of us, to prey on us, they would have been treated with far more dignity, respect and fairness than they actually were.

Wouldn't the UK Border Agency actually be of more use to everyone concerned if the church groups were allowed in, and the Muslim hate preachers, the Pakistani terrorists and pimps, the Somali thieves and gang-rapists were simply turned away - before they got the automatic right to spend nine years or more appealing at taxpayers' expense?


Solkhar said...

My question of course is going to be simple. If a group of US Nationals from say a Washington DC Mosque saved up money to help renovate a Mosque in say Inslington that needs some help savedd up money and was turned away, what would you post?

My bet is "we don't want you here".

Dr.D said...

It is clear that they represented the wrong "M." If they had been nasty muzlims, they would have been welcomed with open arms, put on the dole, and handled with kid gloves. But no, Methodists, are dangerous lot and must be sent away post haste! Way to go UK! I'm sure you made some real friends with that.

Anonymous said...

I know someone who was involved ( after ) this incident, he told me that ALL of the (so-called) British officials involved were Asians

Dr.D said...

"...ALL of the (so-called) British officials involved were Asians."

I believe that is code for saying they were muzlims, correct? Well, what a surprise!

Unfortunately, the UK has chosen to give these regrettable people the authority to represent it. What a mistake!

Solkhar, isn't it clear to you yet that muzlims are not welcome anywhere they go in the West? No where at all! They are alien invaders who do not belong and are resented by those who do belong in Western society. The solution is for muzlims to stay in their own lands and stay out of Western lands. Separation is a very good thing!

Solkhar said...

Who the officials were as being race or religion is only rumor.

The "you do not fit in" has been the excuse for hundreds of years, said to jews, blacks, catholics said it to protestants and all of them were morally and historically wrong. I see no change here.

I guess the celts should be the one's complaining, they were invaded first.

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

Solkhar, as usual you spectacularly miss the point.

This is historically a Christian country.

That aside, how many US church groups want to blow up our trains and shopping centres, or fund those fighting our troops in Afghanistan.


Going on the same principle, I wouldn't necessarily have a problem if a US Buddhist group wanted to come here and help paint a Buddhist temple - as long as we weren't paying for the privilege, of course.

"I guess the celts should be the one's complaining, they were invaded first."

Yeah, and them and the Berbers eh?

The difference between the Jews and the Hugenots and the Irish and the Muslims is that the former all fitted in, whilst the latter want us to fit in with them. Simple.

Solkhar said...

And that is what is called bigotry pure & simple.

What is even more hypocritical is you want nothing to do with "them", not allowed to live amongst you - but you want everything from their countries, you want them to follow you and you expect them after saying the above to respect you and you will also send missionaries to convert them to your faith....

That is the underlining message from you.

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

Anon 15:01, Dr. D:

Having re-entered this country on a number of occasions, I was alarmed by how many staff at passport control did not appear to be British born.

I believe that legally you must be born here to do the job - but so many had foreign accents it was unbelievable.

They also loved throwing their weight around, particularly with white Brits.

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...


Not bigotry, common sense.

The things we get from Muslim countries (mainly oil) we buy, and they have done bloody well out of the arrangement.

I don't want them to follow me, convert or anything - I simply don't want them colonising my country and importing their backward worldview.


Anonymous said...

Where are the churches that need to be painted in Saudi Arabia? If a church group had visited a Muslim country would they have been allowed to stay and volunteer their time to help the poor? The double standard that tolerates the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries but cries foul when Christian countries like Switzerland try to protect their traditional Christianity should not be tolerated. Only when Arab countries allow churches with steeples to be built in Mecca, should the Swiss then allow minarets in their cantons. It would only be fair and just.