First silent prayer, now gospel music: British constable accosts singer for Christian music 'outside of church grounds' | Blaze Media


A Christian singer was recently accosted by a special constable in London for daring to sing gospel music “outside of church grounds.” The Metropolitan Police Service, which may have emboldened the constable with a track record of
arresting Christians engaged in silent prayer, has indicated it is now investigating the matter.

Harmonie London is a 20-year-old gospel singer who performs around the English capital and routinely shares videos of pedestrians’ reactions to her music on social media. On Sunday, she shared an entirely different sort of video, showing an MPS special constable clamping down on her melodic expression of faith.

The video begins midway through a dispute over a performance on Oxford Street in London.

“Religion you’re allowed to do anywhere,” London tells the constable, who has been
identified by LBC News as volunteer officer Maya Hadzhipetkova.

“No, miss, you’re not allowed to sing church songs outside of church grounds, by the way,” says Hadzhipetkova. Although a voluntary special constable, Hadzhipetkova nevertheless has the same powers as a real police officer.

“You are, you are,” replies the singer. “You’re not allowed to sing church songs outside of church?”

“Outside of churches or church grounds,” said the constable. “Unless you’re being authorized by the church to do this kind of song.”

“That’s a load of rubbish. You’re allowed,” London insists.

The video jumps ahead to London keeping pace with Hadzhipetkova as the constable attempts to walk away.

“Are you saying that you don’t care about the Human Rights Act?” asks London. “You’re laughing?”

Rather than answer, the special constable sticks her tongue out at London.

confirmed that the incident took place in “Oxford Street, Westminster, over the weekend,” and indicated police were “working to understand the context in which these comments were made.”

In a subsequent
statement, London police noted both that they were reviewing over 40 minutes of relevant footage and that the bone of contention may have been a “specific by-law related to busking.”

The Daily Mail
reported that Westminster City Council, which oversees the Oxford Street area, has a “light touch licensing scheme” in effect whereby buskers can perform in designated areas with a license.

“The officer knows she could have handled this differently and is speaking to her manager,” added Metropolitan Police.

Harmonie London
told the Daily Mail that she had been singing “Amazing Grace” when interrupted and had not received any complaints prior to her encounter with the constable.

“[Hadzhipetkova] literally marched up to me, stood in front of me and said stop your music now. She literally laughed at my human rights,” said London. “She wasn’t interested. She acknowledged, she knew, and another officer acknowledged that you do have freedom of religion and to express yourself.”

“I sing gospel to glorify God. I’m just literally following the Bible, sharing the Good News. It’s just an opportunity to witness to non-believers as well,” continued London. “I don’t approach people. I don’t force people to listen. I sing and they can choose to listen — and if they don’t, they can choose to move on. A big crowd formed, they were literally begging the police to leave me alone.”

London indicated the ordeal made her feel “very humiliated and small.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern — a group that routinely
defends the rights of Christians and the vulnerable — told the Mail, “One of my favorite things as I commute to work is to hear Harmonie’s beautiful worship.”

“She blesses tens of thousands of people in the same way and brings harmony to the streets,” said Williams. “We need more of this, not less. It is shocking that she has been treated like this.”

Claire Pearsall, a political strategist and former adviser to the British Home Office, told TalkTV, “Really should the police be going around telling people they can’t sing, they can’t pray, they can’t think something? Why don’t they go and deal with actual crime?”

Former Conservative parliamentarian Ann Widdecombe
told Premier’s Inspirational Breakfast, “I think they should take very firm action against this individual, not least for sticking her tongue out, which was a gesture of contempt, not professional. And obviously, she doesn’t really know the law, certainly doesn’t appear to know the law.”

While the MPS indicated it is “working to understand the context in which these comments were made,” Widdecombe indicated the damning video speaks for itself.

“I would have thought it wasn’t necessary for the police to understand the context,” said the conservative politician. “They’ve got the video, they can see what she said now; is what she said right or not? And if it’s wrong, then they should take action.”

“I think the point really being illustrated is some people have got a problem in this country with Christianity which they don’t appear to have with other faiths,” added Widdecombe.

According to the Daily Mail, Hadzhipetkova moved from Bulgaria to Cyprus, then on to the United Kingdom, where she has since taken up jobs as a barista when not jet-setting around the world. She reportedly did not respond to the Mail’s request for comment.

In response to significant backlash online, the MPS wrote, “We’re aware of significant social media commentary. Some of the comments are personal and hurtful. This is unacceptable.”

The MPS’ effort to shame critics did not go over well. Various British commentators from across the political spectrum have since ridiculed the “unacceptable” claim.

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