On November 26, a 29-year-old man from Syria disrupted the Sunday Mass in Vienna's St. Stephan Cathedral. According to media reports, he repeatedly distrubed the liturgy, jumped over the fence around the main alter and screamed loudly. On November 27, the same man returned to the Cathedral and threatened the security guards inside the church with a screwdriver, making signs that he wanted to cut their throats. The police arrested the perpetrator close to the church venue.
Today, on the International Day of Tolerance, OIDAC Europe presents its new Annual Report 2022/23. The report finds an increase of anti-Christian hate crimes by 44% over the last year. Arson attacks on churches increased even by 75% between 2021 and 2022. OIDAC Europe’s annual report also found legal discrimination against Christians who expressed traditional Christian worldviews.
On November 27, unknown perpetrators vandalized the Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Saarbrücken. A statute of Infant Jesus has been beheaded and the statute of Mary, holding the infant, was also damaged. Furthermore, the altar room has been vandalised and a cigarette extinguished on the main altar. In order to reach the statutes of Mary and Jesus, the perpetrator must have climbed on one of the altars.
On November 23, Keplerkirche St. Johann in Vienna was vandalized. Witnesses had seen a man who had allegedly tore a statue of the Madonna from an anchorage in the church and stole a wooden cross. Based on the witness statements and video surveillance footage, the police were able to identify the perpetrator. The 29-year-old Syrian man was found near the church and arrested. He will be charged with aggravated damage to property and theft. The stolen cross was returned to the church. The same perpetrator attacked the Viennese St. Stephan cathedral a few days later (see case from November 26, 2023).
On 23 November 2023, an Algerian man armed with a knife attacked a group of children outside Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire, a private Catholic primary school. As a result of the attack three young children and a care assistant who tried to protect the kids were stabbed. A five-year-old girl was critically injured and remains hospitalised in critical condition. The assistant, who received multiple stabs, is also in a serious condition.
A church in Klostergasse in Ichtershausen, Germany, was forcibly broken into and damaged. Several doors were broken open, rooms were searched and approximately 10,000 euros worth of property damage was caused. Multiple instruments were stolen as well. The crime occurred between November 17 at 3 PM and November 20 at 10:20 AM. The police are still investigating the incident.
The Bundesplatz in Bern was filled with 500 wooden crosses, 1,000 roses, and a long list of names of victims of religious persecution on the 9. July. This was organized by the Working Group for Religious Freedom of the Swiss Evangelical Alliance SEA. They want to show solidarity with the more than 5,000 Christians worldwide who die because of their faith. And they warn that the number of people persecuted for their faith across different religions is increasing. Still, the organizers want to also communicate hope for the future.
In the light of the current invasion of Ukraine by Russia, experts and human rights activists are concerned for religious freedom. They fear religious minorities will face the same human rights violations as in Russian controlled areas. Religious groups suffer discrimination in Crimea and the pro-Russian controlled areas of Luhansk and Donetsk.
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Hate Crimes against Christians in Europe increased by 70%