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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Between July 10 and 19, unknown vandals smashed two windows in the parish of St. Paul in Klein. The perpetrators threw stones at the windows, creating a total of five holes distributed over the panes' surface. The total amount of the property damage has not been assessed yet but, according to the police, it is estimated to be around several thousand euros, since "these are very old and colorful stained glass panes".
The facade of St. Agostino's Church, located in via Principi D'Acaja, was smeared with writings by perpetrators who were unaware of the security cameras in the vicinity. Thanks to the surveillance system the police were able to identify those responsible for damaging the church. Federico Battel, the commander of the Municipal Police of Pinerolo, disclosed that "we are talking about some girls, probably adults, from the shooting we recognize the faces well, now we are working to trace the names and surnames. Subsequently, we will proceed to report for damage and the costs of the restoration will also be charged".
Rosa Lalor, who on the 24th of February of 2021 was fined for praying silently on the public street, and later decided to challenge the sanction, won her appeal. At the time, the police considered that she did not have a "reasonable excuse" to be outside, even though she explained that she was simply "walking and praying" and that daily exercise was allowed. She received a fine of £200 and was then detained in the police car. Rosa Lalor decided to challenge the fine, with the help of ADF UK and won the case in court.
On the early evening of July 18, two people attending the church in Leezen noticed smoke building up in the rear area of the church and alerted the authorities. According to the police's preliminary investigations, a box with candles was lit on fire inside the church, deeming this case an "attempted serious arson". However, the extent of the damage caused could not be assessed yet. The police are looking for witnesses who might have seen people acting suspiciously on the church grounds. The arson motive was confirmed later on.
A Christian mayoral candidate for Lewisham, Maureen Martin, has launched legal action after being sacked for her statement on Christian beliefs about marriage in her election manifesto. She was dismissed by her housing association employer L&Q for "gross misconduct" following three complaints of "hate speech" against her, as she expressed her belief that a marriage between a man and a woman was a "fundamental building block in society" and the "safest environment to raise a child".
A citizen reported to the police that four benches had been thrown into the pond at St. Martini cemetery in Stadthagen. It is not yet known if the benches were damaged by this act, nor who threw them into the water. The police are investigating the case.
Between July 16 and 17, a glazed door of a Catholic Church was destroyed by unknown people. During the previous week, another attack took place in the same church, in which unknown perpetrators destroyed a stained glass window. Both cases were reported to the police who opened an investigation.
During the night between the 16th and 17th of July, three young people, aged 20, 21, and 25, broke into a church in the Świebodzin Commune, while under the influence of alcohol. They entered the church by breaking the padlock and, inside, stole the chalice, cyborium, and message boxes, worth a little over 400 euros. However, according to the police, after leaving the church building, they left the stolen objects in the bushes and entered the bell tower, rang the bells and hence woke up the town residents. The perpetrators were identified and detained by the police. They were charged with "theft with burglary" and can face up to 10 years in prison.
Bishop Halko in the city of Pohoda was attacked by a group of drunken young men, who broke bottles, banged on his cabin, and soaked him with water before other people who laughed at the scene. The incident took place during the night and was reported on 17.07.2022. The priest also recalls that the people shouted at him with insults and hung an LGBT Flag on his cottage. It seems that the group attacked the priest after he had expressed his opinion regarding the LGBT movement on TV.
Unknown vandals sprayed blue paint graffiti on the outer facade of the nearly 1900-year-old Roman Pantheon, where it could be read "aliens exist". As the area outside the Pantheon is not under complete surveillance, the security cameras were not useful to help find the culprits. However, the case was reported to the police who immediately launched an investigation. The Pantheon is one of the best-preserved buildings from Roman antiquity and experts are working on removing the paint from its walls.
Dymytrij Rudyuk, the Lviv Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OKU), accused the Russian army and the Moscow Patriarch Cyril of being responsible for torturing Ukrainian Orthodox priests. In an interview, he claimed that "the majority of OKU priests had to flee the Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine. Those who stayed are often tortured. Five Orthodox priests were shot and a priest-monk was cruelly tortured to death".
On July 15, two men, aged 28 and 29, suspected of having broken into a chapel in the Brody commune were detained by the police. In addition to the break-in, they stole liturgical objects worth nearly 500 euros, which the police were able to recover.
During the night between July 15 and 16, unknown perpetrators vandalized Rydboholm's church in Borås with swastikas, penises, and the word 'Hitler'. The security company was the first to notice the graffiti on the church's facade. When Pastor Sven-Erik Olsson arrived at the church, he noticed how much worse the case actually was: "There is graffiti on windows, on doors, flower pots and even on the stone stairs in front of the gate. It's outrageous, it's the whole community's church". The police were alerted and are looking into the case.
On the 15. July during the night, a 60-year-old restaurant chef witnessed how 3 men were vandalizing the St. Augustine Church in the centre of Cagliari and reprimanded the perpetrators to stop throwing bottles at the church. The three men then attacked him, beating him up and spraying pepper spray on him. The victim was taken to the hospital, he had three broken ribs and a chest injury. The police identified one of the perpetrators through the victim`s testimony and surveillance cameras.
Since the end of June, there have been three similar burglaries targeting valuables from churches and chapels, in the Main-Rhön region. In the three cases, the perpetrators broke into the buildings and, according to the police, stole "whatever was possible". They took valuables such as gold-plated candlesticks, host bowls, and cash from the offering boxes. Additionally, and overall, the thieves caused property damage amounting to 2100 euros. Due to the similarities between the cases, the police believe the crimes are related.
The priest of the church of San Giorgio, Don William Maggioni, discovered on the morning of the 11. July that two pyxes, containing hosts inside, were missing from the tabernacle behind the altar. The burglars also forced the tabernacle of the altar of the Madonna open, which was found empty. In addition, the golden crown of St. Valentine was robbed as well. Don William alerted the police who started an investigation to find the perpetrators.
Between July 9 and 10, unknown vandals broke and damaged several windows at the Karthaus monastery. It is suspected that minors threw balls and gravel at the windows, breaking them as a result. The case was reported to the police who are looking for witnesses to identify the perpetrators. The police stated that this kind of damage caused to church buildings is "no trivial offence", and called on parents from the area to talk to their children about it. Since this is not the first vandalistic attack against a church in the vicinity, the police added that they will be more present and vigilant in the area.
On July 11, unknown burglars broke into a church on Meislahnstrasse. After entering the building they broke a room's door and searched it, however it is not yet clear if they stole anything. The police were alerted and are investigating the case.
Two free evangelical churches have appealed to the Geneva Court due to the denial of their requests to perform baptisms on public beaches. On July 8, the Swiss canton of Geneva banned baptisms organized by evangelical churches in Lake Geneva, but the same baptisms are allowed in Vaud, an area that covers the northern shore of the Lake. The Swiss Evangelical Alliance wrote in a media release that they were shocked that Geneva, the human rights capital, would take such a "restrictive and exclusionary approach to religious freedom".
Between the 9. and 10. July, unknown vandals broke into the pilgrimage church "Maria Hilf", in the city of Batzhausen, and stole 30 organ pipes and 16 gold-plated candlesticks. According to the police, the damage caused by the burglary amounts to 24,000 euros. Unfortunately, they did not stop here and caused even greater property damages: they broke the church doors open and ripped out the organ pipes, causing damage that adds up to 40,000 euros. It seems like the organ was in fact destroyed, it is unclear if it is possible to repair it or not.
On July 10, unknown people smashed the window pane of St. Stephen's Church. Traces of blood were found at the scene meaning the perpetrators injured themselves by breaking the window. The motive is not clear since nothing was missing from the church. The case was reported to the police who launched an investigation.
Between the morning of July 9 and the morning of the 10th, unknown people broke the ground-level window of St. Michael's Church, causing material damage that amounts to 300 euros. It appears that the frame was kicked with a foot which caused the pane to break. The police was alerted and are now looking for witnesses who might have information on the case.
On the 10th of July, unknown vandals sprayed the entrance door and a wooden shed of a church with two white paint graffiti inscriptions. The property damage caused has not been assessed yet but the police have been alerted and are looking into the case.
During the night of July 10, unknown vandals damaged the facade of the evangelical church in Moers with hateful red tags. The sexton could not make sense of the writings left by the vandals. He believes this act was meant to target the church, although he was "not sure if the perpetrators even knew that this is a Protestant church". The writings included the words "Pontifex" and "F*ck Masonry", among others. The case was reported to the police who handed the investigation over to State Security, due to the possibility of the attack having a political background.
During the night of July 10, an Orthodox cemetery was desecrated in the Bosnian city of Mostar. Writings on the walls of the cemetery contained threats against Serbs, leading them to report fearing for their safety. This attack was reported to the police and to the Ministry of Internal Affairs by Archpriest Nebojša Radić.
On the 8th of July, two young girls, aged between 12 and 15, vandalized a church located on Innsbruck's Spingeser Strasse. According to the police report, the two "destroyed bibles, candles, and sacrificial box candle jars". They further shattered flower pots, ripped seat cushions from the benches, and threw a statue from a pedestal. The total amount of the damages caused has not been accessed yet, but the case was reported to the police who started an investigation.
On July 8, an unknown burglar tried to break into the Grafenau parish church. A sacristan found this out when he attempted to lock the church door and was not able to because the lock had been damaged. According to the investigations, the burglar tried to pry open the door, eventually succeeding, but he left the scene without taking anything. The police are investigating to find the perpetrator.
On July 8, unknown thieves broke into the Catholic Church of St. Joseph and searched the rooms inside the building. They stole several sacred objects, "including a crucifix, monstrance, and chalice", causing a still unknown amount of property damage. The case was reported to the police who opened an investigation to find the perpetrators.
On July 7, during the procession of San Fermín in Pamplona, a group linked to the nationalist radical left, carrying slogans such as "hypocrites out" and "you will go to hell", attacked the procession that was already returning to church. They mainly targeted the politicians, spitting, booing, and using physical violence against the mayor and his entourage. Moreover, the attack also exhibited a Christianophobic character.
Between July 3 and 6, a church located on Landauer Strasse was broken into by unknown thieves. They entered a meeting room and stole electronic devices, causing damages estimated at 1000 euros. The police were alerted and are looking for clues and witnesses to find the perpetrators.
On the 6th of July, the parishioners of the Consolation church noticed the damage caused to some plants in the churchyard and Don Santo Salamone reported the case to a newspaper. Unknown people damaged a small green area that has been under the care of citizens, members of the brotherhood, and the Lycopean parish.
On the 6th of July, when an employee from the church was on his way to lock the building, he noticed that a candle cylinder and its contents from a brass stand were missing from the Basilica of St. Martin. Using the surveillance system he determined that a theft had taken place, but the identity of the perpetrators is still unknown. The case was reported to the police.
Between the evening of July 4 and the morning of July 5, unknown vandals poured a kilo of sugar into the Holy Water font of the Church of St. Joseph. The sugar was taken from the pantry with food donations in Lindlar - the baskets had been put up in the Church for a while so donators can place the food there. This has not been the first distasteful prank taking place in the Church of St. Joseph in recent months. Heinz Otto Höher says, even though nothing was stolen "we want to know who is behind it", now considering installing a surveillance system in the church, to avoid the recurrence of similar cases. Nonetheless, a good thing came out of this bad situation: "After it became known in Kirchdorf, we received numerous food donations that more than compensate for the loss of sugar".
The Italian Mario Mauro was appointed the new EU Commissioner for Religious Freedom after the position was vacant for 9 months, ever since the previous Commissioner, Stylianides, resigned. Before Stylianide's appointment, the post was vacant for 10 months, which indicates that it is not a priority for the European Commission. It only attempted to fill the vacancy after some politicians, and other figures pressed the issue.
Unknown thieves stole a historic 17th-century crown from a church in Weikersheim. According to the information provided by the police, the thieves also stole two cable drums from the church. The total amount of the valuables stolen is in the five-digit range. It was the 3rd reported theft at the church only in the month of June and the police "are examining a connection between the crimes". In the previous thefts, the unknown perpetrators stole construction equipment and building materials.
On the 29th of June, between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., unknown people entered the church of St. Pantaleon in Walpertshofen and vandalized it. First, they damaged the entrance door of the church and inside tore a tile out of the wall. Then, they ripped out the pages from the hymn and prayer books and scattered them through the church. The vandals continued to damage the church by lighting candles and spreading the wax on the floor and on the pews, in addition to knocking over chairs and flowers. They fled the scene leaving significant property damage behind, which is estimated to amount to 2,000 euros. The case was reported to the police who started an investigation to find the perpetrators.
On June 29, an ancient Christian cemetery was found desecrated by local Christians. The graves were damaged, human remains were found scattered, and funerary objects were discovered tarnished across the cemetery complex. It is believed that the perpetrators acted with a bad intention, considering that June 29 is a day dedicated to "the liturgical memory of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, to whom the cemetery chapel was dedicated upon its construction in 1967". The fact that this location was targeted specifically at this time appears to be with the aim of maximizing the impact on local Christians. The vandalistic case was reported to the police and the local Christians hope that they find the vandals and bring them to justice.