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World News

Home Secretary praised after stating 'silent prayer is not unlawful'

by Marcus Jones

A religious freedom group is welcoming comments by the Home Secretary which appear to defend the rights of those who wish to pray outside abortion clinics.

Suella Braverman has written to police chiefs in an attempt to avoid controversies around a variety of issues.

One of those issues that has sparked debate is around so-called 'buffer zones' near abortion clinics. Local laws are preventing pro-life campaigners from praying or doing anything which may be deemed as harassment to those considering a termination.

There have been a number of arrests of those challenging the laws in both Birmingham and Bournemouth.

In her letter to police chiefs, Braverman said: "Silent prayer, within itself, is not unlawful."

Responding on behalf of religious freedom group ADF UK, Jeremiah Igunnubole said: "The government's focus on restoring common sense to British policing is welcome and long overdue.

"Too often, of late, arrests have been justified by reference to subjective notions of offence rather than an objective application of the law. Politicised policing seriously threatens democracy, which relies on the right to freedom of speech and free and frank exchange of viewpoints to be effectively realised."

Laws which could bring buffer zones in across the UK are progressing in Holyrood and Westminster.

In March, MPs voted against an amendment which would explicitly protect prayer and offers of charitable support for vulnerable women.

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