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Franklin Graham returns to preach at UK venue that banned him over 'hate speech'

US evangelist Franklin Graham has announced he is to return to Glasgow's OVO Hydro arena after successfully winning a legal battle having had a prior booking cancelled by the venue.

The son of late preacher Billy Graham was banned by owners Scottish Event Campus (SEC) from holding an evangelistic outreach in 2020 for fears he would make homophobic and Islamophobic comments.

It was part of a series of cancellations by venues across the UK.

After taking legal action against a number of the arenas, Graham finally carried out a UK tour last year with events in Newport, Liverpool, Sheffield and London with thousands attending each stop.

He'll now return for an event in London on 26th August 2023 and then Glasgow in June 2024

Speaking about the new dates, Graham said: "We are excited to return to London again this year and to have an opportunity to preach the Gospel in Glasgow.

"We are grateful for the thousands of Christians and hundreds of churches that have stood alongside us in recent years and continued praying for this tour to come to their cities.

"We saw hundreds of people turn to Jesus Christ in faith last year, and we believe this is God’s timing for many more people in London and Glasgow to hear the message of God’s great love for them."

The events are free to attend hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in partnership with local churches.

The Glasgow date brings an end to a saga which will have lasted 5 years.

Opposition to his tour saw political leaders and even bishops from the Church of England speaking out against Franklin Graham.

However summing up his verdict in the legal challenge against SEC, Sheriff John McCormick said he found no evidence that any hate speech would be delivered by the evangelist.

The judge labelled the cancellation a "thinly veiled exercise in virtue signaling" by the SEC who "bowed to public pressure, spurred on and whipped up by political leaders online".

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