West Europe

British churches advised to report ‘anything suspicious’

Image ©Licensed to i-Images Picture Agency. 01/08/2016. London, United Kingdom. Prime Ministers Official Portrait. Picture by Andrew Parsons / i-Images

An alert has been issued to British churches after a statement by so-called Islamic State threatened “worshippers of the cross” following the Manchester bombing.

Barnabas Fund, a persecuted church agency, said it had asked supporters to “exercise extra vigilance in the coming days and immediately report anything suspicious to the police”. The agency stopped short of any specific warning to cancel services but reminded Christians to be “alert to anything unusual”.

Dr Martin Parsons, head of research for the charity said: “Christians should be aware that over the past decade there has been a significant increase in the number of attacks on churches in locations such as the Middle East which last year began to spread to Europe. So, we are simply asking Churches to be extra alert and report anything suspicious to the police.”

Barnabas Fund said that their cautionary warning followed announcements earlier in the week by the British Prime Minister Theresa May that the UK security level was being raised to critical – the highest level. This means that that intelligence agencies believe there is the possibility of an imminent attack.

According to reports, intelligence services are concerned that terrorists with the means to plant a highly sophisticated bomb may still be at large in spite of 10 arrests since the Manchester attack.

Barnabas Fund said that the wording of the claim by Islamic State in which they stated they were behind the Manchester attack was similar to wording they used in a video two years ago in which they executed 30 Ethiopian Chrsitians in Libya two years ago.

They stated: “What comes next will be more severe on the worshippers of the cross and their allies.”

Pray and Protect, a leaflet to advise churches on security can be downloaded free HERE.