All cases

Street Preacher Arrested for Alleged Hate Speech

August 14, 2021, United Kingdom

Street preacher Ryan Williamson from Loughbrickland was arrested for alleged hate speech, while preaching in Larne on 10 August. Subsequently, MP Mr. Wilson expressed on social media that “police probably didn’t handle this very well”, for there is video footage of Williamson preaching and his arrest circulating on social media. Williamson was released 30 minutes later. However, the police are being harshly criticised. Williams stated to have received much support from the local community.

Vandalised Graves in Saint-Jean-de-Muzols (Ardèche)

August 14, 2021, France

Between 13-14 August, three graves in Saint-Jean-de-Muzols cemetery were vandalised. The incident has been reported to the police, who are now investigating the case.

Vandalism and Theft at Church in Laskowa

August 13, 2021, Poland

Unknown perpetrators vandalised the church of the Most Holy Name of Mary in Laskowa. The incident is said to have happened sometime overnight from 11 to 12 August. It has been reported that the culprit vandalised the church and stole money and parts of the church's furniture. Damage has been estimated to be 2,200 Euros. Police were informed and are currently looking for the perpetrator.

Police Recovers Safe Stolen from Church in Lüdenscheid

August 13, 2021, Germany

In the night from 18 to 19 July, an unknown person stole a safe from the church "Queen Mary" in Lüdenscheid. In the latest event, the police managed to find the safe, which was discovered by a passer-by in a near park. The police are now looking for any possible eyewitnesses. The 200-kilos heavy piece will be returned to the church after the investigation comes to an end.

Repeated Arson Attacks against Church in Déols

August 13, 2021, France

Arsonists once again attacked a church in Déols near Châteauroux. The church was deliberately set on fire in the past already, one recent case dates back to August 8, 2021, in which the altarpiece was destroyed by the fire. In the year 2020, the church has also been subjected to arson, leading the clergy to close the church for reparation works. Police are investigating.

Swastikas Tagged on Church in Hénon

August 13, 2021, France

On 12 August, unknown perpetrators desecrated the church of Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul in Hénon with swastikas. The damage was discovered by the sexton, who came to close the church's door. According to the report made, the vandals also damaged the porch of the building. Police have been informed.

Graveyards desecrated in Redessan

August 13, 2021, France

During the night of 13 August, unknown perpetrators vandalised the cemetery of Redessan. The cemetery is located on the road to Saint Gervasy. It was reported that a cross was broken, plaques were smashed and flower pots were thrown over. A complaint was filled with the police who are investigating the case.

Parish Priest in Vienna Locks Thieve in

August 12, 2021, Austria

A priest in Vienna simply locked up an offertory thief in his church. The priest had kept an eye on the suspicious 39-year-old male of Romanian descent, who has allegedly been stealing money from the offertory since July 2021. When he returned on August 10, 2021, the parish priest observed the man's actions through video surveillance and simply locked him up, while he stole again. Without further ado, he informed the police about the thieve. Police are currently investigating the case.

Toddlers Allowed to Change Gender without Parental Consent

August 12, 2021, United Kingdom

Under the new LGBT inclusivity guidelines, children as young as four will be able to change their names and gender at school, without their parents' consent. A 70-pages document authorized by the Scottish government, dictate teachers to ask pupils for their new names and pronouns instead of questioning their 'decision' to transition to living as the other gender. Campaigners fear for the safeguarding of children and the breach of parental rights to protect their children. Scottish lawyer Aiden O'Neill fears that this move could be very illegal and potentially dangerous.

Armin Laschet Publicly Mocked for His Believes, Experts Concerned for Religious Freedom

August 12, 2021, Germany

Armin Laschet, the CDU's candidate for the next federal elections, has been attacked in an anti-Catholic video shown at a political election event in early August. In the video, Laschet is seen as a Russian Matryoshka doll that 'hides' several other dolls inside. A voiceover says "whoever votes for Armin Laschet and the CDU, votes for ultra-Catholic Laschet confidants for whom sex before marriage is taboo". Bishops and politicians fear for a wider erosion of freedom of religion in an increasingly secular Europe.

Sacred Hosts Stolen from Church in Houyet

August 12, 2021, Belgium

A thieve stole an 18th-century silver ciborium and consecrated hosts from a church in Houyet. The police have been informed and are now looking for the perpetrator. It is said that the incident took place on 12 August.

Accused Finish MP Päivi Räsänen Concerned over Religious Freedom of Christians in Europe

August 11, 2021, Finland

In 2004 MP Päivi Räsänen co-authored a church pamphlet about human sexuality for which she is additionally prosecuted on the grounds of ethnic aggravation . The other charges raised against her are based upon a TV interview and a social media post she made. If she is found guilty on all three counts she might be facing a prison sentence of up to six years. During a podcast with Jeff King, she told him that her case raises questions about religious freedom in Finland. "If, for example, any of the viewpoints contained in the Bible would be considered sufficient as such to fulfil the criteria for the crime of ethnic aggravation, then the distribution of the Bible, or rendering it available would in principle be considered a crime of ethnic aggravation and thus punishable", she cited a police report on her case. Talking to King she further stated: "This is also a question, are we allowed to agree with the Bible? Are we allowed to keep Bibles in public and teach what the Bible tells us? I think this is a very, very deep question of freedom of faith and religion." 

Church in Remigny Vandalised

August 11, 2021, France

On the 7th July, the church in Remigny has been attacked again only a couple of days of it re-opening. Unknown perpetrators broke two stained glass windows in the historical church. A complaint has been filed and police are currently searching for the perpetrators.

Police Apprehended Vandals of Cemetery

August 11, 2021, France

Police arrested two brothers at the age of ten who are said to have desecrated 18 graves in the communal cemetery of Ham-les-Moines. The incident happened on 31 July, however, the police only managed to arrest them in August. It was reported that the police caught them as they were trying to desecrate another graveyard. They were handed over to their parents, who might have to pay for the damage their children made.

Another Act of Vandalism in the Church of Lubliniec

August 10, 2021, Poland

An unknown perpetrator has knocked over the candles and the candlestick in the Saint Nicholas' Church in Lubliniec. The incident took place on the morning of August 7, 2021. It was reported by a churchgoer who noticed the broken votive chandelier. Police are investigating.

Polish Police Apprehend Man who Desecrated Church in Lubliniec

August 10, 2021, Poland

The Police arrested a 39-year-old male, resident of Lubliniec. The man was apprehended on 9 August and is accused of having knocked over and broken a votive candle holder in the Saint Nicholas Church in the city centre. According to a police spokesperson the man admitted to the accusations raised against him. He was charged with the crime and is now facing a punishment of up to five years of imprisonment.

Stolen Crucifix of Church in Vada Recovered

August 10, 2021, Italy

A stolen crucifix from the church in Vada was recovered and brought back to its place. The small sacred object was stolen from the altar of the parish of San Leopoldo for unknown reasons. A passerby spotted the gold-plated object in a bush, not far from the parish. Police were informed and the crucifix has now returned to its former place. However, the investigation to find the culprit is still ongoing.

Statue of the Virgin Mary in Tramoyes Desecrated with Degrading Drawings

August 10, 2021, France

Unknown perpetrators desecrated the statue of the Virgin Mary in Tramoyes. It is reported that the face of the Virgin was painted with a felt-tip pen, the incident occurred on 10 August. The culprit drew glasses and a moustache onto the statue, which is located near a church. A complaint was filed and the police were notified.

Catholic Priest Brutally Murdered in France

August 9, 2021, France

60-year-old priest, Olivier Maire, was murdered on 9 August. The alleged murderer is 40-year-old Emmanuel Abayisenga, who is currently under judicial supervision for the alleged burning of the Nantes Cathedral in July 2020. He is said to have turned himself in, to the police after the crime. The crime took place in Mortagne-sur-Sèvre, which is about 60 kilometres from Nantes.

Female Street Preacher Wins Legal Challenge

August 9, 2021, United Kingdom

Christian street preacher Hazel Lewis, 49, won her legal case after being accused of hate crimes and being falsely arrested by the local police. On 12 February 2020, the preacher was arrested for allegedly making homophobic and racist comments and was held in custody for several hours. Although Lewis provided audio evidence proving her innocence, the police went on to charge her for the accusations made against her. In court Judge Julia Newton ruled in favour of Lewis stating there is "no case to answer".

Update: Police Questioned Man Who Killed Priest in Saint-Laurent sur Sèvre

August 9, 2021, France

Police are questioning the alleged murderer of 61-year-old French priest Father Olivier Maire. 40-year-old Rwandan immigrant, Emmanuel Abayisenga, claimed to have killed the 61-year-old priest, who took him in and sheltered him, for currently unknown reasons. The incident happened on 9 August in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre. Abayisenga was on bail as he was awaiting his trial for the alleged burning of the Cathedral of Nante in 2020.

Pope Received Threatening Letter Containing Bullets

August 9, 2021, Italy

Italian law enforcement is investigating a suspicious envelope addressed to Pope Francis. The letter that contained three bullets, was discovered by postal employees at a mail sorting facility near Milan on 9 August. According to a paramilitary police spokesperson, the envelope had been sent from France and was addressed by hand in pen to “The Pope, Vatican City, St Peter’s Square, Rome”. Apart from the bullets, which police presumes to be for a pistol, the letter contained a message referring to financial operation at the Vatican.

Update: Man Who Sent Letter with Bullets to Pope Francis Identified

August 9, 2021, Italy

Italian law enforcement managed to identify the source of the mysterious letter containing three 9 millimetre calibre bullets from the Flobert type, addressed to the Pontiff at the Holy See. The man's identity is said to be already known to the Vatican gendarmes, who are currently coordinating and evaluating the situation. Although identified, police are still working on the individual's whereabouts.

Police Apprehend Thieves after Repeated Thefts in Montebelluna Region

August 9, 2021, Italy

Police in Montebelluna caught the thieve who was stealing offerings from several churches. A 47-year-old male already known to the police, was charged with aggravated theft for stealing the offerings from different churches in the Montebelluna region. The thefts all happened over a time period of several months. The culprit was caught while leaving another church by a patrol of military officers on 5 August.

MP Calls for Save Zones around Abortion Clinics

August 9, 2021, Ireland

Stephen Donnelly is "fully committed" to introduce safe access zones at abortion-providing facilities, thereby censoring Pro-life groups. Donnelly's statement followed a publication from the Irish Department of Health, which stated the current public order legislation had abolished plans to deal with anti-abortion protests at clinics and GP surgeries. In 2018 Ireland liberalised legislation surrounding abortion. Christian organisations fear for the freedom of speech in Ireland.

Under Investigation: New Irish Conversation Therapie Bill Poses Problems for Therapists

August 9, 2021, Ireland

Irish therapists fear for the consequences their work could have in future. A proposal forwarded by Fintan Warfield seeks to amend gender dysphoria to the already existing law banning conversion therapy. His proposal seeks to criminalise “any practice or treatment by any person that seeks to change, suppress and/or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression”. Therapists fear that this approach endangers the openness, efficacy and ethics of therapy in areas related with and to gender identity.

Church Vandalised in Casal Velino

August 7, 2021, Italy

Unknown perpetrators vandalised the church of San Matteo ad Duo Flumina in Casal Velino. The vandals damaged the altar, causing great sorrow among the community, who worked to maintain the spirit of the little church. According to the local press, the incident dates back to 7 August. A complaint has been filed by a member of the 'I Fedeli di San Matteo' association. The police obtained video surveillance and are currently investigating.

Hillsong Pastor Expresses 'Shock' about Sex Abuse Concealment Allegations

August 6, 2021, International

Lead pastor of the global multisite Hillsong Church, Brian Houston, is accused of concealing the sex abuse of his late father Frank Houston, who died in 2004. Australian police officials announced that they were charging the 67-year-old Houston with "concealing child sex offences". Houston expressed his surprise at the allegations raised against him, stating: "These charges have come as a shock to me given how transparent I’ve always been about this matter, I vehemently profess my innocence and will defend these charges, and I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight.”

Granite Cross Near Chapel of Pietat in Lamarque-Pontacq Vandalised

August 6, 2021, France

A cross made of granite with the purpose to surmount the tomb of a clergyman was broken near the chapel of Pietat in Lamarque-Pontacq. The damage was noticed and reported by a local farmer. The chapel of Pietat was built in the 16th century and is a Marian shrine. Masses are regularly performed in the chapel. Police are investigating.

Two Cemeteries Vandalized in Pau

August 6, 2021, France

Two cemeteries were desecrated in Pau. The two cemeteries are the urban cemetery and the Bessières cemetery. An 87-year-old resident noticed that objects are being taken from both cemeteries. The theft was reported to the police.

Update: Italian Homophobia Bill Divides Society and Stipulates Fear

August 6, 2021, Italy

The "Zan Bill" is still awaiting a decision from the senate. While it waits for a decision the public keeps to be deeply divided over the matter. Opposers of the bill fear that people holding a different view on lgbt+ issues could be penalised simply by publicly making a cross sign and therefore either face high fines or a prison sentence. The Bill has been approved in the lower house of the parliament in November 2020 but still needs to pass the Senate to become law. It aims to add amongst others sexual orientation and gender identity to the already existing law surrounding hate crimes and discrimination.

Christian Police Officer and Pastor loses Legal Challenge

August 6, 2021, United Kingdom

Former police officer, Winston Roderick, took legal action against his colleagues on grounds of religious discrimination. An employment tribunal under Judge Rhian Brace dismissed all of his claims on the grounds of Roderick, who is also a pastor, being too sensitive. According to Judge Brace, the comments were never made. Roderick also filed for two other cases, which were equally dismissed.

Update: Fire at Church in Marsala, Suspect Confessed

August 6, 2021, Italy

Italian Police apprehended 52-year-old Guiseppe Montalto, the prime suspect in the Marsala Church fire. Montalto allegedly set fire to the altar and the tabernacle of the church of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima. According to a police spokesperson, the suspect confessed to the crime stating "he was the author of the fire and that the insane gesture was the result of a rapture due to personal reasons". The police found that Montalto used a can of petrol to set fire to the church he and his wife frequented regularly. In addition, the police also found two bombs that would have caused devastating damage. He was charged with aggravated arson and is now awaiting his trial.

New Netflix Documentary Slams Christianity

August 6, 2021, International

Netflix's new documentary 'Pray Away' is filled with lies says, Jefferey McCall, a former Transwoman, who found freedom in Jesus. The documentary premiered on 3 August and focuses on the work of Exodus International, a US-based Christian organisation, which sought to “help people who wished to limit their homosexual desires” in the 1990s and early 2000s. It additionally portrays the experiences of people who went through conversion therapy lead by Exodus International. McCall, who is the founder of Freedom March, states that secular media is equating Christianity and his "freedom marches" with conversion therapy.

Hillsong Church Defamed by BBC Documentary

August 5, 2021, United Kingdom

In a recent statement published by the megachurch Hillsong, they accuse BBC of defaming and misrepresenting it. They state that Nick Aldridge the show maker of the documentary 'God Goes Viral' misled them from the very start. The show was supposed to cover how Hillsong grew from a family church to a megachurch frequented by celebrities and especially young people all around the globe. On their Website, they published a statement clarifying the misrepresentation and stating their position in relation to the false allegations raised in the documentary.

Evangelical Church in Marseille Severely Vandalised

August 5, 2021, France

The Vie et Lumière (Life and Light) evangelical church in Marseille, which is a member of the Evangelical Mission of the Romani of France, was recently vandalised. The church had placed a marquee on their rented space, which has been completely destroyed. A member of the community discovered the burned Bibles, the broken furniture and the broken marquee, which was lacerated with a cutter on the evening of August 4, 2021. That person also informed the police about the vandalism, who are currently investigating.

Church Vandal Caught by Police in Baranówek

August 5, 2021, Poland

Police apprehended a 36-year-old man who is the main suspect in a case of vandalism of a church in Baranówek. The man is thought to have painted offensive inscriptions on the wall of Christ the King Church in Baranówek. The incident dates back to early July. Police could point two other offences to the man who is now facing a prison charge of up to five years.

Update: Police Confirms Ansgarii Church Was Deliberately Set on Fire

August 5, 2021, Sweden

Swedish police confirmed the fire in the Ansgarii church was caused by arson. In course of theirs investigations, the police found petrol cans, which were used to start the fire. This is not the first church burned down in the local area. Residents and the local community are now urging the Swedish Government to better protect places of worship. The police are still looking for the perpetrator.

Clergy Personal Threatened with Death and the Basilica Robbed

August 5, 2021, France

On 3rd July 2021, the Notre-Dame Basilica in Nice witnessed a robbery attempt by a homeless man. He intended to steal a fifty kilo trunk and threatened the faithful as well as the priest with death. He shouted: "I'll come back and kill you all". In October 2020, the church has witnessed Islamic attack. A Tunisian migrant threated to slit the throats of three people in the church. He was sentenced to 17 months in prison for the attempted robbery and the threats.

Saint Mary Magdalene's Church in Caldecote Vandalized a Second Time Only a Week Later

August 4, 2021, United Kingdom

Less than a week after the Saint Mary Magdalene's Church in Caldecote suffered a thousand pound's worth of damage, it had been vandalised again. The Church, which had recently re-opened after several months of renovation had first been vandalised on 29 July, the second attack followed a couple of days later. Volunteers found several windows were broken and a door seemed to have been forced open. Police are investigating.

Update: Suspect in Desecration of Virgin Mary Statue to Face Charges

August 4, 2021, Poland

A 50-year-old woman is currently held as the main suspect in the case of desecration and vandalism of a Virgin Mary Statue in Poland. The woman is accused of having stolen a gold-plated crown from a statue in a church in Kościerzyna, Wielu, worth PLN 1,000 (€219). She was charged with theft and is now facing a prison sentence of up to five years. The incident happened on July 8, 2021. The 50-year-old pleaded guilty to the charges raised against her.

Sanctuary Set on Fire in Marsala

August 4, 2021, Italy

Unknown perpetrator set the sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima in Marsala on fire. The incident happened on 4 August, at around 5.30 p.m. Although the fire brigade prevented much damage, the church suffered partial damage to its altar, the gospel book and other furnishings. The police were informed and are now looking for the perpetrator, who was seen fleeing the scene.

Thieves Steal over €3.000 from Presbytery

August 4, 2021, France

Police arrested three suspects in a case of church theft. The three individuals are accused of breaking into the presbytery of the church of Ligueuil in Touraine on the 27 July. They are said to have searched the premises and escaped with €3.870 in cash. Parish priest Father Rémy Soubrier explained this is the third robbery of this kind.

School Teacher 'Sacked' from School after Stating Christian Views

August 3, 2021, United Kingdom

Joshua Sutcliffe, a maths teacher and a Christian pastor, was dismissed from his school in Oxford because he allegedly 'misgendered' a student. He is said to have said "well-done girls" to a group that included a student who identifies as a boy. In a legal challenge, Mr Sutcliffe claims the school has "systematically and maliciously" breached his rights which subsequently forced him to leave his job, for it had become impossible to continue the working relationship. The secondary school he worked in has not commented on the case.

Update: Suspect Caught for Setting Church Door on Fire

August 3, 2021, Italy

Police managed to apprehend a suspect in the case of arson at the Saint Andrew the Apostle Church. The individual identified is the same person who tried the set the church on fire in the previous year. According to parish priest Don Giuseppe the suspect has been committing acts of vandalism towards the church for some time now. Saint Andrew's community is collecting funds for the restoration of the church door.

Christian Missionary Arrested and Banned from Re-Entering Turkey to Return to his Family

August 3, 2021, Turkey

David Byle has lived in Turkey for 19 years and together with his wife Ulrike raised their five children there. The Christian minister has now been barred from re-entering the country because of his Christian faith. Supported by a legal team he is now taking the issue to the European Court of Human Rights. According to the Turkish government, Byle is a ‘threat to public order and security’ and has therefore been banned from the Country. The family is now residing in Germany until they are all permitted to return home.

Irish Government Once again Restricts Certain Church Services

August 3, 2021, Ireland

The Irish Government instructed the local parishes to hold communion and confirmation services this month. This newly imposed restriction came as a blow, as the churches were allowed to resume services only in May after a very long period of COVID-19 related restrictions. While five Bishops have now decided to defy the newly imposed restrictions, holding communion and confirmation services anyway, the reformist Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland has criticised the Bishops action.

Ansgarii Church in Vättersnäs Set on Fire

August 3, 2021, Sweden

An unknown perpetrator burned down the Ansgarii Church in Vättersnäs, Jönköping. The incident happened on 3 August, at around 2 a.m. when residents called the fire brigade. The Ansgarii Church belongs to the Swedish Ecumenical Uniting Church. There were no injuries reported. Police are investigating and treating the incident as a case of arson.

Church Door Set on Fire in Italy

August 2, 2021, Italy

The wooden door of the church of Saint Andrew the Apostle in Capodrise has been set on fire by an unknown perpetrator. The incident happened on the evening of 2 August. Thanks to the quick intervention of the local fire brigade the fire was brought under control and quickly put out. Police are investigating the scene and are looking for the perpetrator.

15 Graves Desecrated in Stains

August 2, 2021, France

15 graves were desecrated on the cemetery of Stains. The incident occurred on the night of 31 July to 1 August. The perpetrator(s) knocked over flowers, broke plaques, smashed vaults and broke open tombstones. A complaint was filed with the local police. In the past, the cemetery had been vandalised numerous times, but never to this extend says mayor Azzedine Taïbi.