Vandals took the head off a statute of Mary which stood outside St. Brannock Catholic Church in Braunton. They threw the torso into the consecrated shallow well and wedged her head into a nearby wall. Mrs. Smith-Bingham, who lives close the the church, stated: "I heard some noise on Sunday (June 11), and when my husband went to look, he noticed this had happened (...).The community should be made aware that a religious hate crime has been reported to the police. There has been petty vandalism in the area for the last 18 months or so, but this is on a different scale." Damage was also caused to the church door, and police are investigating the criminal damage.
A number of distinctive items have been stolen from St. Stephen's Church in Bournemouth, with police releasing a CCTV image of a suspect. The man was seen on the camera footage on June 9 at 9:30 AM. It was reported that he stole a silver sanctuary lamp, a decorative gold palm leaf and a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham. A private area of the church was also broken into and a number of items were damaged. The police have not arrested the man and are continuing their search.
In line with other European countries, Iceland has approved a ban on conversion therapies for 'sexual orientation,' 'gender expression' and 'gender identity.' The problem arises from the redaction of the new law, that restricts freedom of religion and parental choice. The law does not specify what is considered "conversion therapy", which could lead to the criminalization of harmless spiritual counseling by parents or fellow believers.
Matthew Grech, a maltese 33-year-old Christian, had his first Court trial on Friday 9th of June. He is being prosecuted on the grounds of "breaching the Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Act" and promoting "conversion therapy". He could face a prison sentence of up to five months and fines from 1,000 to 5,000 Euro. In the program, aired in April 2022, Grech shared his experience as a homosexual and how he found Christianity, which changed his life forever. Grech did not invite or encourage listeners to undergo any form of "conversion therapy".
On June 8, during the Corpus Christi procession in Ursynów, an Audi driver refused to wait for the faithful to pass and rammed his car through the crowd, hitting and injuring people. The police are investigating the event.
On June 3, the sacristan of the Chuch of Mailhac discovered that the place of worship had been vandalized. Many candles lay broken on the floor, and there are clear signs that someone had tried to open the trunk. The sacristan had already filed a complaint for the destruction of candles in the past. As a consequence of this act, the church has been closed for an indefinite time. The Ginestas gendarmerie was informed on the same day, and a complaint had been filed.
On June 2, Vladimir Burshtyn was arrested and taken to trial after having been preaching in the street in Drahichyn the day before. The law enforcers told his wife that the reason for the arrest was the "organisation of mass events". He was fined 555 Belarusian rubles, over a month's average pension in the country.
On June 1st, the provincial prosecutor's office of La Coruña opened a case over the burning of a cross in La Toleira of Neda, following a complaint by the organisation of Christian Lawyers. The lawyers' organization indicates that BNG (Galician nationalist party) members were responsible for the incident. They are being charged with possible hate crimes, offending religious feelings, offending historical heritage and illegal demonstrations. The Prosecutor's Office is asking the police to identify those involved in the reported act and the person(s) responsible for the fire.
The mayor of Barrado, a town in the province of Caceres, tore down the cross dedicated to the 'fallen' of the Spanish Civil War on May 31, after having lost the municipal elections two days before. The politician, a member of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), justifies his decision on the 'Democratic Memory Law' but the foundation Abogados Cristianos considers it an attack on Christians and is considering legal action.
A statue of Our Lady of Lavasina installed on the seafront of Ajaccio in Corsica was found decapitated on May 29th. The statue was used in processions in the parish of Saint-Jean-Baptiste in Ajaccio. This is the fourth act of anti-Christian vandalism on Corsica in recent months. In April, a statuette of the Virgin Mary by Petit Capo beach was found vandalised, as well as a make-shift altar at a scout camp in Vero. A cross in Sisco was also decapitated that month.
On Sunday May 28, individuals broke into the church and carried out various acts of vandalism and damage to the place of worship. They tried to set fire to the church, also all the candles were knocked over, a crucifix was damaged and paintings were broken. The mayor, Albert Sanchez, strongly condemned this act of violence. In this context, local representatives called for a peaceful gathering in front of Cugnaux town hall (near the church), on May 31 at 6:30 pm to condemn all acts of violence against places of worship.
On April 26, the lower house of the Irish Parliament passed what could be the most extreme hate speech law in Europe, with critics saying that it is in fact a 'thought crime' bill. The text of the bill makes the possession of material considered 'hateful' against certain groups a crime punishable with jail, and the burden of proof is shifted to the accused, who is expected to prove they didn't intend to use the material to "spread hate".
Vandals targeted the Auld Kirk of Ayr in Blackfriars Walk on the evening of May 25. Grave stones were painted, rude imagery was drawn over stained glass windows and profanity was written on an iron gate. Historic stonework, as well as a welcome sign featuring a picture of King Charles III was vandalized with red spray paint. The incident is being investigated by Ayr Police.
On May 23rd, a ruling by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) in the UK banned Christian Joshua Sutcliffe from teaching altogether, after he failed to treat his pupils "with dignity and respect" by misgendering a transgender boy. This case is the first of its kind in the UK and has become international news. It goes back to 2017, when the former maths teacher at the Cherwell School in Oxford, said "well done girls" to a group of girls, where one was a transgender boy - and he later apologized. Sutcliffe was later also accused of inappropriately sharing his Christian beliefs.
In Malnia, near Gogolin on May 23rd, unknown perpetrators blocked the door to the rectory to prevent the parish priest from intervening and committed the destruction of a statue of the Virgin Mary, a statue of St. Anthony, and the devastation of the church interior. The losses made by the perpetrators were estimated at several thousand zlotys.
A 21-year-old British man, Edward Little, has pleaded guilty to preparing to commit acts of terrorism in an attack against the evangelist Hatun Tash in 2022. Little was found carrying £5,000, with which he planned to buy a firearm to kill Hatun Tash at the Speaker's Corner, a place for public debates where she frequently debates and preaches. He refused the allegations at first, but on the May 19, 2023 he admitted to planning the murder back on September 23, 2022.
On May 19, between 3:00 and 7:00 p.m., unknown perpetrators entered the church Notre-Dame des Grâces in Revel without being detected. Once inside, they poured red paint on the walls. A depiction of Christ on the cross, a pyrographed painting of the Virgin and Child, candles and the altar were also vandalized with paint. On a wall, the word "proteste" (unclear form in French) was also written in red. The mayor considers closing the church outside worship hours due to this incident. The same happening had already taken place on May 1st, with the same acts and the word "protest" written on a wall with red paint. Back in 2018, the church in Revel had been attacked with arson.
On May 17, a citizen who was silently praying in front of the Dator abortion clinic in Madrid was arrested by the Spanish national police. The arrest comes as a result of the entry into force of the reform of the Spanish Criminal Code last year, which punishes praying in front of abortion clinics as it considers it 'harassment to women.'
On Tuesday the 16th of April, Russian forces seized the Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church of the Holy Trinity in Mariupol. According to a US NGO, it is "part of a wider systematic religious persecution campaign in occupied Ukraine." More generally: many Ukrainian pastors said they had been arrested and tortured by Russian soldiers, with one saying that the troops were directed to "kill all the Christian pastors who are not part of the Russian Orthodox Church."
Churches in Bavaria are targeted by vandals with increased frequency. The Bavarian State Criminal Police Office (LKA) registered 294 cases of damage to property in churches, chapels, or monasteries last year - 23 more than in 2021 (271). According to the information, the trend has been increasing in recent years. In 2019, the LKA still counted 219 cases, and the following year it was 242. According to a spokesman of the Catholic diocese of Regensburg there are: "For example, figures of saints were destroyed or damaged, people smoked and urinated in church rooms, church walls were smeared or fires were set inside the church."
A teacher in Wales, Ben Dybowski, was encouraged to express his Christian beliefs at a seminar and was subsequently fired for "hate speech." The teacher was prompted to share his opinions during a mandatory training session organised by the charity Diverse Cymru to instruct teachers on "workforce diversity practice, unconscious bias and gender awareness." He later commented that: "We were told it was a safe space and encouraged to speak freely."
A Christian primary school teacher who questioned Stonewall and Mermaids' recommendations to support a "gender transition" of an 8-year-old student without providing any supporting medical data has lost her job and is the subject of numerous regulatory body inquiries. She is being supported by the organisation Christian Concern to contest against her dismissal due to discrimination based on her religion.
Organ pipes were stolen and the organ of the St John The Divine Church in Patching, England, was damaged on the night of the May 12 to 13, 2023. The theft is expected to cost thousands of pounds to repair or replace.
On May 11th, the Ukrainian newspaper Korrespondent.net reported: "The invaders are removing the property of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, but such actions are not explained in any way and no one was warned about the "raid". Russian occupants are looting and destroying the cathedral of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PCU) in temporarily occupied Simferopol. The invaders broke down the doors of the temple, destroy and steal the property of the Ukrainian church." One of the leaders of this "raid" is Novikov Evgeny Nikolaevich - "the Moscow bailiff who manages the seizure of the PCU temple in Crimea". The Russian individuals did not explain their actions and no one warned the representatives of the religious community and church officials about the "raid".”
Some people have tried to cause a fire in the church of Santa María de los Ángeles. This criminal act occurred on Tuesday, May 9 around 4:00 pm in Vitoria, while the church was closed. Perpetrators sprayed gasoline at the main entrance of the church. The fire burned a billboard and the church entrance, which they left darkened and dirty. The criminals fled, but thanks to the images from the church's security cameras, the police were able to identify them.
On the 9th of May, the Police of Salzburg have arrested a man who hurled a bottle of red wine he had brought with full force against the high altar on Monday morning in the parish church of Schwarzach im Pongau. Thus, two altar lights were knocked over and the offering table and brickwork were contaminated by the wine. The man had entered the church loudly ranting and gesticulating aggressively and spat at a statue of Christ. The man - a Czech citizen who is banned from staying in Austria - was filmed in the church by two video cameras.
On May 5, 2013, graffiti was found on the Church of Lieusaint, in a suburb of Paris. The graffiti, which said: 'Vive l'Islam et la paix" (Long live Islam and Peace) was written in French and a Star of David was drawn. According to a local Muslim association, the scripture, full of mistakes, is unlikely to come from a Muslim. The Mayor strongly condemns this "proof of human stupidity". Last year, statues inside the church had been destroyed.
In the context of the current blockade by Azerbaijan on the Republic of Artsakh, the ethnic Armenian breakaway state in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Armenian Christians are suffering increasing threats and fear for their future. In one of the latest threats against the Christians living in the region, Azerbaijan has demanded the expulsion of the Armenian clergy from the Dadivank monastery, built in the 9th century and one of the symbols of medieval Armenia.
An exhibition in the European Parliament showing Jesus surrounded by men dressed in leather as sadomasochistic slaves, apparently homosexuals, has provoked complaints from several MEPs and Christians in Europe. The author, lesbian Swedish photographer Elisabeth Ohlson, argues the photographs depict Christ supporting homosexual rights.
A German man who was doing a bicycle tour around the Tollensee Sea in Germany, near Neubrandenburg, came across a wall displaying several hateful or disrespectful messages and insults almost entirely against Christians or Catholic Christians. He posted a picture of the display on his facebook page and informed the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians. Some of the posters on the wall say "F**k off Vatican", "Good that theologians are disappearing on their own", "Catholics are sh*t", among other things.
On May 2, 2023 between 14:00-18:00, a cloth on a stand of Saint Leodegar Church in Steinfeld, Germany, was set on fire, burning the cloth to crisp and damaging the Bible on the stand in the church.
Glawdys Leger, 43, taught modern foreign languages at Bishop Justus Church of England School until May, 2022 when she was fired for refusing to teach her 7 and 8-year-old pupils about gender and sexual identities. The teacher was reported by a student and subsequently fired for "gross misconduct" after an investigation and disciplinary hearing. Shortly after, she received a letter from the Teaching Regulation Agency that allegedly her teaching conduct had been "contrary to fundamental British values in that it lacked tolerance to those with different beliefs." Leger, on the other hand, says that she "cannot, in good conscience, teach or say things I believe are contrary to my faith." Leger's hearing is due to commence in Coventry on October 9, 2023.
An open-air chapel and cross situated on an eight-hectare plot of land in Vero, Corsica, was found completely knocked down and ransacked on April 29 by Father Louis El Rahi. The site was bequeathed to the church by a local resident a few years ago and was relaunched as a scouting site by Father Louis, who celebrated Palm Sunday mass there a few weeks before the incident. This is one of the four acts of anti-Christian vandalism that have occurred in Corsica in recent months. Earlier in April, a statuette of the Virgin Mary in Petit Capo was vandalised and a cross on the Saint Jean pass was decapitated. In May, another statue of the Virgin Mary was found decapitated in Ajaccio.
A cross on the Saint Jean pass in Sisco, Corsica, was found vandalized at the end of April. The nearly two-metre-high cross was placed on the pass more than twenty years ago by the inhabitants of Sisco. This is one of the four acts of anti-Christian vandalism which have occurred in Corsica in recent months. A statuette of the Virgin Mary in Petit Capo had just been vandalised a few days before the cross was decapitated, and a makeshift altar at a scout camp in Varo was vandalised shortly after this. In May, another statue of the Virgin Mary was found decapitated in Ajaccio.
On April 27, the Moscow City Court ruled the liquidation of the Sova Information and Analytical Center, the leading organization monitoring religious liberty violations in the country. This represents a significant blow to the protection of freedom of religion in Russia.
On the 2nd of April, unknown people destroyed two statues and one vase in the Saint-Rémi Church, in the village of Profondeville. The day after, a small chapel nearby was burnt. A few days before, a Statue of the Virgin had been destroyed too. The police assume, that the same persons committed the three acts.
St. Michael's Church in Beccles was targeted by vandals who damaged stones and moved fences. Suffolk Police said the incident occurred at some point between April 17 and 22. Damage was caused to the stonework, including to the patio terrace slabs, and safety fences were moved that were in position to safeguard and protect an area on the ground where loose stone masonry may fall from the church. The police closed the case pending further investigative opportunities. No arrests were made and no suspects were identified.
On Thursday 20th of April, the Protestant Kreuzkirche in Graz was targeted by vandals. The Austrian police were able to catch one of the perpetrators. The witness Christine Pfau was working inside the church when the attack occurred. She was preparing everything for the next service when she heard a sound noice and saw a colored smoke through the windows. The Vandals had smeared the walls, the pillars and the church doors with about 15 spray cans, scraps of smoke and paint bombs and left even more rubbish lying on the floor.
Between April 17 and 22, the St Michael's Church in Beccles was vandalised. Perpetrators caused damage to the masonry, to the stonework, including to the patio terrace slabs, and safety fences were moved. The Suffolk police was informed and are looking for the perpetrators.
On April 15, seven young men were fined for talking about Easter in a public street in the city centre of Minsk. The individuals, who were all Protestant, were approached by police and told that they were violating the law by "conducting missionary activities without a permit." The police fined each one about 2 months' average wages, reports Forum 18.
On April 14, in the Russian city of Bryansk, the Volodarskiy Magistrates' District Court penalized the pastor of the "First Church of Evangelical Christians Baptists of Bryansk" for engaging in "illegal" missionary work. He was charged with "introducing 'modern' ways of communicating in line with 'Western standards'."
On April 14 in Menden, near Dortmund, unknown persons have tampered with the missionary cross on the church square of the Holy Cross Church. They broke off the Jesus figure and stole it. The police is looking for witnesses.
Tens of thousands of pounds worth of chalices and sacred items have been stolen from the Lady Saint Mary's Church in Wareham after thefts broke into the church and blew up the safe on April 14. Explosives were used for the break-in and at least 25 pieces of communion silver, including a 450-year-old Elizabethan chalice worth 30,000 pounds, were stolen. The police suspects this gang of thieves has been targeting churches across the UK.
On the April 12, 2023, the rector of the Sainte-Madeleine Church in Angers found his church devastated: seven statues had been beheaded or amputated, the altar was vandalized, and many crosses were too. Mr. Verchère, Mayor of the city, and Mr. Darmanin, Minister of the Interior condemned the degradation. On the 18. April, a 40-year-old with criminal records named Brahim was arrested by the police, he was also taken to a hospital for psychiatric examination.
Over three nights on April 12, 13, and 14, in Croydon, thirty gravestones have been destroyed with a sledgehammer - some graves were dating back 500 years, at a Grade I listed church. «The church is appealing for witnesses along with police who are trying to find out who took a sledgehammer to the graves. »
A statuette of the Virgin Mary, set up eight years ago by the residents of Sevani or Petit Capo beach in Ajaccio was found vandalised on April 12th, 2023. The flowers, the pots which contained them and the candles surrounding the Virgin were stolen and the statue was tipped aside. This is the first incident in a row of recent anti-Christian vandalisation on Corsica. Later in April the chapel and a cross of a scout camp in Vero were vandalized and a cross in Sisco was decapitated. In May, a statue of the Virgin Mary was found decapitated.
On the 9th of April, at night, unknown people wrote with white paint "Pa Pedophil" (paedophile pastor) on the evangelical Church of Jemelle. Pastor Grégory Zieleniec received a hateful letter in his mailbox "pedophil en liberté. Il s'agit du pasteur grégory zieleniec" (Free paedophile. This is Pastor Gregory Zieleniec). The Pastor has filed a complaint for insult, vandalism and defamation.
Marisa Francescangeli, a primary school teacher in San Vero Milis (Oristano, Sardinia), has been suspended for 20 days with a pay reduction (from 25 March to 15 April) for having made her students construct a rosary for Christmas and praying an Ave Maria and Our Father with them. The Oristano school office's decision of suspension was taken after two mothers protested. While other parents defend her, she said she will appeal the decision.
Two men were arrested on April 5 after having urinated inside of the St. Georg's church of Nördlingen. One perpetrator is 39 years old and the other is 41. The day before, faeces had been found in the same church. In addition, the two men attempted to break the offertory box. As the police searched the suspects' apartments, stolen goods from the previous day were found and seized.
Mikhail Simonov, a 63-year-old Russian Orthodox Christian, has become the first person to be imprisoned for expressing opposition to Russia's war in Ukraine on religious grounds. Simonov has been accused of disseminating false information about the Russian armed forces "based on political hatred" due to two social media posts in which he criticized Russian attacks on Kiev and Mariupol. One of the posts read "We, Russia, have become godless. Forgive us, Lord!"