On the 14th of September, CNA reported that a hospital chapel in the town of Puerto Real, in the Diocese of Cádiz and Ceuta, had recently been desecrated twice. The first time, nothing was stolen but someone moved the tabernacle so that it was out of joint and left a dirty glass in it. The second time, the consecrated hosts were stolen and the veil of the tabernacle was torn off. The police were notified.
The Home Secretary of the UK has now clarified that “silent prayer, within itself, is not unlawful” in a letter for the police forces across the country. This statement comes in response to many months of controversy over "buffer zones" outside abortion facilities that have led to the arrest of several citizens for praying silently in their minds inside a buffer zone.
In the night of September 4th to 5th, unidentified thieves managed to break into the church by entering through a window of the neighbouring building and then using the shared basement. They left with the tabernacle, the golden chalice inside it and two more boxes of unknown content. Since the tabernacle is quite heavy, police expects that more than one person must have been involved in the crime. The exact damage is unknown since it is not clear what the tabernacle and the chalice are made of. The local police started an investigation.
During the 31st of August and the 1st September, Finnish Politian Päivi Räsänen and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola stood trial at the Helsinki Court of Appeal for the charges brought against them of "inciting hatred" against LGBT people. These charges are based upon a Twitter post made by Räsänen in 2019, as well as a pamphlet and a radio interview. Last year, Räsänen and Pohjola were unanimously acquitted of all charges, but due to the appeal by the prosecutor, they stood trial again. The verdict will be announced in November 30th.
The verdict of the Court against Fr Ioann Kurmoyarov was given on 31 August and has finally sentenced the hieromonk to 3 years in a penal colony accused of disseminating false information about the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
On the night of 24 August 2023, three men broke 6 stone crosses from de crowns on Margaret Bridge in Budapest. The perpetrators were filmed by CCTV cameras and an investigation has been launched by the police to identify them.
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%