Germany rejected the asylum application made in 2018 by Hassan, a 44-year-old Iranian who converted to Christianity in Iran and was prosecuted for the same reason. When he testified before the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees in Germany, he disclosed that he learned about Christianity in Iran through his brother-in-law, who had been imprisoned for his activities and was then killed for practicing his faith in jail. During the second week of August, the European Court of Human Rights refused to listen to Hassan's case, meaning now he faces the threat of being deported to his home country, where he will likely face imprisonment or death.
The columns and the flower boxes of the Church of San Benedetto in Livorno have been spray-painted with red tags. Some of the inscriptions that defaced the Church said "No Nazi" and "1312". It is presumed that it is the same vandals that have vandalized a statue of Canapone in the Piazza XX Settembre. A concierge hopes that the security cameras might help identify the perpetrator.
On 11. August the church of Sant'Antonio Abate was vandalised by unknown perpetrators. They sprayed writings on the walls of the church and excrements were also left on the ground. According to an investigation by the Carabinieri of the local station, the mirrors of some nearby parked cars were also damaged. There are currently no video surveillance cameras in the area.
Vandals were on the loose in the district of Neukirchen last week. Unknown perpetrators damaged a round-arched window of the church on Bruchstraße on 15. August.
For the third time on the year, the village church of Saint Gregory the Great in Morville has been the target of theft and vandalism. This time, the thieves stole a plaque commemorating a war hero, Thomas Hoblyn-Robins (from WWI). This happened on the 9. of August. On the same day two brass candlesticks, one brass vase and two brass candleholders were stolen. The police are asking for witness information.
A 45-year-old man injured his hand while attempting to break into a tabernacle in the church of San Lazzaro in Bologna. The man was identified by the carabinieri thanks to surveillance cameras. On the 8 August, the man tried to open one of the tabernacles of the church of San Lazzaro, but in doing so he injured himself and decided to give up. Returning home, he called the 118 emergency services to get medical attention. After finding the damaged tabernacle, the priest checked the images taken by the church's security cameras.
On the 8th of August, the Municipality of Les Borges del Camp posted on Twitter photos and a video of the vandalistic attack on the church during the night. Unknown perpetrators threw pink paint bombs at the church's walls and wooden door.
The historian Dick Harrison recently wrote a review of a book called "The First Right: Freedom of Religion. Freedom from Religion", written by the deputy secretary general of the Swedish Evangelical Alliance, Jacob Rudenstrand. The historian commented that the book was worth reading and pointed out that the current persecution of Christians "hardly gets any media attention."
On Sunday 7. August, tthe police in Murcia arrested two men after they attacked the church of San Bartolomé during the celebration of Mass. The perpetrators, aged 24 and 27, who are originally from Estonia, entered the church shouting and obscene gestures. The parish priest and several parishioners tried to intervene and stop them before they gained access to the tabernacle. The parishioners told the police officers the details of the incident and regretted the lack of respect by these individuals for their faith and the violation of their freedom of worship. The perpetrators have been handed over to the Examining Magistrate's Court on duty.
Between the 6. and 9. August, unknown perpetrators smashed the window panes of an Evangelical church in Beinum, Salzgitter, by using stones. The police issued a press release about the incident and are investigating. The damage is estimated at around 10 000 Euro.
On the night of August 5-6, 2022, an unknown perpetrator profaned the statue of Our Lady of Medjugorie located in the park near St. Joseph Church in Stargard. The vandal damaged the windows and stole the holy rosary held in the hands of the statue of Our Lady.
The town hall of Picauville has taken the decision on the 5th of August that churches will remain closed, due to the high amount of vandalism. Claudine Marie, the second deputy major, commented about recent incidents: "Damage took place on Wednesday 3 or Thursday 4 August. In particular in the church of Amfreville, where the trunk was torn off to take the little money that was inside. This caused some additional damage to the wall where it was hung." Masses and other religious celebrations will still take place.
Unknown perpetrators vandalized the Catholic Church of the Good Hirte, using a marker pen to write words and sayings on the pillars and walls inside the church. They further desecrated a Bible, which was open for reading, and a fresco in a side niche. Pastor Gerd Möller said that "the fresco, in particular, will not be easy to restore". According to the Pastor, the attack took place during the morning on August 4 and the damage caused amounts to 10,000 euros. He further added that "the immaterial damage cannot be estimated. A church is a place of encounter with God and prayer. These places are of inestimable value for people who practice their religion". The parish filed a criminal complaint with the police who launched an investigation to find the perpetrators.
Between the early afternoon of August 4 and the morning of the 5th, unknown people broke into a church located in the west of Leipzig. They entered through a window and searched several rooms inside the building. The door of one of the offices was forced open and the room was looted. There is not yet any available information regarding the stolen items and the damage caused. The case was reported to the police who launched an investigation, deeming this a case of aggravated theft.
For no apparent reason three trees in front of the church in Sümmern have been cut off. The cut off trees were lying on the ground, so the reason for the cutting was clearly not theft. The police are investigating.
On the 3rd of August, it was reported that unknown thieves stole part of the floor tiles from the church of the Holy Spirit in piazza Cirillo in Aversa. The thieves took parts of the floor but left their tools behind. The authorities believe it is unlikely that the criminals wanted to return, as the church is closed to the public and deconsecrated. The carabinieri is investigating with use of security cameras.
It was reported on the 3rd of August that the church of San Giovannello is being constantly vandalised and spray painted by unknown persons. According to the newspaper, they receive daily complaints and pictures of the church being daubed on every corner by vandals, including the surroundings. The newspaper suggests installing a video surveillance system.
German Police are investigating an attempted break-in at the Reconciliation Church in the Bännjerrück district of Kaiserslautern. The event took place on the 3rd of August, as the perpetrators tried to gain access to the church, but did not succeed. Nevertheless, the burglars caused damage estimated to be at least 200 euros.
The Canadian police released the hate crime data for 2021 on the 3rd of August, showing an alarming rise in anti-religious hate crimes: from 530 cases in 2020 to 884 in 2021. Anti-Catholic hate crimes rose 260%: while there were 43 cases in 2020, it rose to 155 in 2021. Catholics were the second most target group after Jews. Main News Broadcasters reported on these worrying numbers, but although Anti-Catholic motives were the second most targeted religious group and showed the highest rise among all categories, the media only used examples from other groups.
In Wörth am Main during the first week of August, unknown persons defaced the entrance area of St. Nicholas Church with graffiti. The police have been notified and are asking for information. It seems that the crime was committed between 3 and 4 August. The perpetrators defaced the stone staircase of the main portal with paint. The damage to the property is estimated at around 500 euros.
On the 2nd of August afternoon, unknown perpetrator(s) vandalised a church in the Zähringerstraße. The individuals damaged flyers and a praise book with fire, they threw over altar candles and stands and damaged a holy figure. Also, an unknown number of candles were stolen. The police has taken over the investigation of the damage to property and asks for information from witnesses.
Steps leading to a secondary exit of the church in Aumetz in Moselle were vandalised - the edge was broken. The vandalic act most probably took place on 2. August. The town hall has filed a complaint.
Thieves looted the church of St. Mary's Assumption in Appelhülsen on the 1st of August. They stole three gold-plated metal candle coasters, a copper bird figurine screwed onto the baptismal font, various votive offerings crosses and a metal rod, which was in the hand of a statue of Our Lady. The police in Dülmen are asking for information.
In the city of Zeitz in front of the church, the memorial plaque for the pastor Oskar Brüsewitz was stolen. The theft was discovered on the 1st of August. The plaque was still attached to the pillar until the 27th of July. According to a witness, a man was seen trying to remove the plaque on the 27th of July in the evening. The witness says the man was disturbed when he was approached. A police investigation is ongoing.
On the 31 of July, the cemetery in Piekary Slaskie was desecrated by unknown perpetrators. 42 gravestones have been destroyed, the tombstones and crosses were knocked over, and flowers and some crosses were set on fire, according to Łukasz Czepkowski, spokesman for the Baker police. The police are investigating and trying to identify the perpetrators
The Saint-Roch de Kergroix chapel, in the commune of Quistinic in Morbihan, was vandalised on the weekend of 31 July. The two doors of the building were broken into, but no theft was reported in the building. The commune filed a complaint. On the following 2 August, several fires of criminal origin destroyed a hedge in the village of Kerquéré - the mayor recalled the vandalism of the chapel in the local press, where he announced that he would file a complaint following the fire.
On July 30, a woman at St. Joseph's Church in Maków Mazowiecki noticed that a man, most likely under the influence of alcohol, entered the sanctuary. He headed for the side aisle, where there were paintings used in processions, and deliberately kicked them. Under the impact, the paintings fell over. Two of them have damaged frames. The woman tried to stop him, but to no avail; the man left the scene before police officers arrived.
Relics and a medieval statue probably dating from the 13th century were stolen from the church of Saint-Médard and Saint-Gildard in Crépon in the Manche region in July. On their website, the Friends of the Crépon church give details: "During the month of July 2022, the Crépon church was the target of several thefts perpetrated without breaking and entering and probably in broad daylight. The first targeted relics contained in four reliquaries displayed on secondary altars in the nave and the second a remarkable sculpture, discovered in 2019 during work carried out in the nave of the church, and which was kept in the sacristy, a room which is usually locked." Relics are sacred objects.
On the 29. July, the wall of the Church of our Lady in Zurich was found with inscriptions in red paint saying: "Burn in Hell", "Strike Fundamentalists on the Mouth" and an anarchist symbol, along with paint dripped over the staircase. For the time being, the parish staff is not allowed to clean up the graffiti, while the crime is being investigated by the police. The shocked priest said he had never experienced anything like this.
During a press conference on the 28. July, the "International Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte (IGFM)" reported on the indifference and even bias present in the BAMF (the Migration Office in Germany) in regard to the fate of Iranian Christian converts, who face persecution or even death if deported to Iran. Pastor Dr. Gottfried Martens, an expert on legal practice and deportation procedures recalls how representatives would make fun of the statements of Christian Iranians, he stated that court hearings were "pure gambling". Many Iranian converts shared their hardships and disappointing experiences with the german authorities.
On 28. July, the Norman councillor discovered that the liturgical organ and the sound equipment of the church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste were stolen in Omonville la Rogue. A complaint was filed with the Police.
Unknown persons vandalised a church in Heilbad Heiligenstadt on 28 July. "Between 1 and 5.30 p.m., unidentified persons vented their destructive rage in the St. Martin's Church on the church square in the old town. The perpetrators had tagged several pillars, spilled candle wax on the floor and broken a glass vase and a basin of the holy water dispenser. The stone staircase was also damaged by the vandals. The police have launched an investigation and an appeal for witnesses.
Destroyed by arson in 2013 already and then rebuilt, the St. Nicholas Church in Westkapelle, a section of the Flemish municipality of Knokke-Heist on the Dutch border, was set on fire on 28. July. Passers-by noticed smoke coming from the church. They went inside and noticed that the candle stand was burnt out. The fire was quickly extinguished and an investigation was launched - which points to vandalism by teenagers.
In Matera, unknown vandals defaced the 16th Century Church of the Immaculate Conception with anti-Christian phrases. The Pisticci administration announced: "This time it is an even more serious act because it has hit one of the symbolic assets of our historical-artistic heritage, certainly among the most beautiful and important in our country." The municipal administration reported the act to the authorities and asked citizens to help in identify the ones responsible. One of the inscriptions said "F*ck your God" or "Son of a *?"
On the 26. July at night, a US-American tourist ransacked the Basilica of Boulogne-sur-Mer. In the pictures posted by the police on Twitter one can see benches were knocked down, statues broken on the ground, the altar was ransacked and other sacred objects were damaged. The man was arrested by the local police.
The statue of Our Lady of Beauraing in Kanfen, a commune in the Moselle region near the Luxembourg border and Dudelange, has been vandalised on 26. July - unknown persons have burnt it. The previous statue in the same oratory was stolen outright, and was made of bronze.
During the night of July 25-26, a shrine with a statue of the Virgin Mary was profaned in the district of Przemyśl, in Poland.
On the 24. July, unknown perpetrators set fire to a church in Monheim am Rhein. The incident was discovered by a church employee, who noticed in the evening that all candles were on the altar and behind the altar had been lit. They also found lit pieces of paper and matches on the floor that left burn marks. Police are investigating.
The Church of St. Bartholomew in Zeiskam was damaged by unknown perpetrators on the 24. July with anti-Christian and obscene tags. One can see photos of the exterior façade defaced with red paint spray. Some of the symbols are an inverted cross, a star inside a circle (a witchery symbol) and a penis. The St. Bartholomew's Church Foundation has filed a complaint with the police.
On the days around the 23. July, several cases of attempted arson took place in the Liebfrauenkirche in Mengen. Easily combustible objects were set on fire several times inside the church by unidentified perpetrators. According to the police, there was a danger that the fire would spread to the furnishings, but fortunately, the fires went out by themselves. The criminal investigation department in Sigmaringen is looking for witnesses.
The church of Saint-François-d'Assise in Perpignan was desecrated on the 23. July in the afternoon by a group of vandals. The perpetrators ransacked the church and the sacristry, they threw the consecrated hosts to the ground and attempted to set fire to a statue of the Virgin Mary and dried flowers. They also broke the safe and looted the little money that was in the church from offerings and donations. The police is investigating the case.
A "gang of young people" desecrated the church of Saint Francis of Assisi in Perpignan on 23 July, stealing the ciborium, throwing the consecrated hosts to the ground and attempting to set fire to a statue of the Virgin Mary. A "gang of young people" desecrated the church of Saint Francis of Assisi in Perpignan on 23 July, stealing the ciborium, throwing the consecrated hosts to the ground and attempting to set fire to a statue of the Virgin Mary. On the day of the crime, the church had remained open as usual, but now it is closed outside of services," says Marc Olivier, the parishioner who discovered the scene of desolation.
A burning pew with a strong smoke development in the new parish church of St. Margaret in Landshut caused much damage to the church. Since this is not the first incident of this kind in the recent past in the parish church of St. Margaret, and an accident or spontaneous combustion can be ruled out at this point, it must be assumed to all appearances that the fire was caused by arson. The police have started an investigation on the spot.
The Ravensburg Criminal Investigation Department is investigating attempted arson after an unknown person apparently tried to set fire to a wooden door of the church of St. Peter and Paul in Weißenau on 22. July.
During an interview with the Christian Institute, Dr. James Holt, Chair of the Freedom Declared Foundation, said that there is a lack of religious literacy among some elected officials in the UK. He noted that at the recent International Conference on Freedom of Religion and Belief in London, the issue seemed to be addressed mainly as a foreign policy issue and not a domestic concern. He considers that "much more needs to be done" to counter anti-religious hatred in the UK and secure religious freedom.
On the 22nd of July, the church of San Michele in Lucca was attacked by vandals. Someone destroyed a piece made of stone which framed the door on the right side of the church and scattered the pieces on the steps of the church. The parish priest, Don Lucio Malanca lodged a complaint with the police. He also found shattered glass on the floor from a bottle he believes was used to scratch the marble.
Between the 21st and 22nd of July, unknown perpetrators tried to break in into the St. Alexander Church in Wallenhorst but were not successful. The perpetrators tampered with the door lock, an antique stained glass at the side entrance of the church and at the back of the devotional chapel, and left all places damaged. The police are looking for witnesses for more information.
A Moroccan man was arrested in Zaragoza, after breaking into the Basilica del Pilar in Zaragoza shouting: "Allah is great, he is the only true God, yours is false and you are infidels".The young man also threw a copy of the Qurʾan into the church and left then left. He was later arrested by the police.
The church in Pleumeur-Gautier (Côtes-d'Armor) has been the target of acts of vandalism and theft on the 21st of July. Candles were lit on the altar, which could have caused a fire and other objects were stolen. The mayor, Pierrick Gouronnec, visited the church to see the damages. The Gendarmerie Brigade is currently doing an investigation and the church has been put under increased surveillance.
The priest of the municipality of Camas in Sevilla, Pedro José Rodriguez Molina, received a note with death threats on the 21. July. The note said "Ardereis como en el 36" (You will burn like in 36) and "Cloro al clero" (Chlorine to the clergy). The priest posted the note on his social media profile.