All cases

Report Calls Swedish Asylum Process for Converts a "Complete Lottery"

March 20, 2019, Sweden

A study analyzing the asylum claims from 2015-2018 of 619 Afghan converts to Christianity outlined serious shortcomings in the Swedish Migration Board's process. 68% of the converts were denied asylum on the grounds that their conversions were not deemed to be "genuine," despite all of them being baptized members of 76 churches in 64 locations across Sweden. The report noted that the Migration Board emphasized knowledge-based answers to questions and intellectual ability, rather than evidence of belief, religious practice, and involvement in church life.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Religion

UK Home Office Rejected Christian's Asylum Claim by Quoting Bible

March 19, 2019, United Kingdom

An Iranian man who converted to Christianity after discovering it was a peaceful religion in contrast to Islam had his asylum claim rejected by the Home Office on March 19th. In a rejection letter from the Home Office, passages with violent imagery from the Bible including Matthew, Revelation, and Exodus were used to argue that the claimant's claim about Christianity was false. “These examples are inconsistent with your claim that you converted to Christianity after discovering it is a ‘peaceful religion’ as opposed to Islam, which contained violence and rage,” the letter read. The Home Office later said the letter was "not in accordance with our policy approach to claims based on religious persecution" and agreed to reconsider the application.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Religion

Arson Attempted Twice in Senigallia Cathedral

March 19, 2019, Italy

An unidentified person set fire to the altar tablecloth in the chapel near the cathedral entrance. At about 8:30 a.m. on March 19th, parishioners and a priest noticed flames and smoke coming from a chapel altar and immediately extinguished the fire. The priest then reviewed surveillance footage and observed a man entering the cathedral and setting fire to linens in a different part of the church, as well. The police were called and began an investigation, noting that there were signs of forced entry on several doors.

Desecration Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Fire Deliberately Set in Saint-Sulpice Church in Paris

March 17, 2019, France

On Sunday, March 17th, the church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris had to be evacuated after a large fire broke out in the entryway. The large wooden door of the southern transept was engulfed in flames and severely damaged, as was the stained glass window above it. Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to prevent it from spreading to the rest of the church. On March 18th, investigators announced that the fire was not accidental in origin, but had been deliberately started.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Statue of Jesus Damaged by Vandals in Katowice

March 17, 2019, Poland

Sometime during the night of March 16th to 17th, unknown vandals damaged the crucifix outside the church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Koszutka, a district of Katowice (Najświętszego Serca Pana Jezusa w Koszutce). Reports indicate that stones were likely thrown at the statue of Jesus, breaking the legs and arms.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Desecration at Basilica in Charente-Maritime

March 16, 2019, France

The Basilica of Saint-Eutrope de Saintes in the Charente-Maritime department of southwestern France was desecrated on March 16th when consecrated hosts were stolen by unknown thieves. The diocese announced that a reparation Mass would be held.

Desecration Theft

Offensive Messages Painted on Cathedral of Santiago

March 12, 2019, Spain

The Cathedral of Santiago was targeted by vandals during the early morning hours of March 12th. Messages sprayed in black paint on the facade and in various areas of the basilica ranged from anti-Church ("Yo no salí de tu costilla, tú saliste de mi coño" and "Machitos")" to anti-royal ("Guillotina Borbones"), and against the Santiago Abascal party ("Gritaremos hasta quedarnos sin Vox"). The cost to remove the graffiti is unknown, but could be in the tens of thousands of euros.

Violent Attacks against Pro-Life Prayer Vigils in Manchester and Nottingham

March 12, 2019, United Kingdom

Police began a public order offense investigation on March 12th in Manchester after an angry individual screamed obscenities at elderly members of the 40 Days for Life group and sent chairs and leaflets flying outside an abortion clinic. A day earlier, in Nottingham, three people praying outside a medical centre were accosted by a man who swore at them and threw a jug of lumpy yellow liquid at them. Police began an investigation for assault as well as a hate crime motivated by the victims' religious beliefs.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression Hate Crime

Church in Rivas Vaciamadrid Sprayed with Graffiti

March 8, 2019, Spain

La Iglesia de Santa Mónica de Rivas Vaciamadrid was vandalized by a radical feminist group with the phrases "Iglesia = muerte” (Church = death), “Muerte al patriarcado” (Death to the patriarchy), and “Pecadora y orgullosa” (Sinner and proud).

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

International Women's Day Strikers Disrupted Press Conference at Archdiocese

March 8, 2019, Spain

More than a dozen strikers disrupted a press conference on the XXIV edición de Las Edades del Hombre at the Archdiocese of Vallodolid, throwing pamphlets and, using megaphones, shouted slogans against religion in education and in favor of abortion.

Insult or Incitement

Pro-Abortion Banner Hung by Feminist Activists at Concathedral of Logroño

March 8, 2019, Spain

A banner reading "Os beberéis la sangre de nuestros abortos" ("You will drink the blood of our abortions") was discovered hanging on the gate in front of the Concatedral de Santa María de la Redonda in Logroño.

Insult or Incitement Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Three Churches in La Coruña Painted with Feminist Graffiti

March 7, 2019, Spain

During the "8M" feminist demonstrations, churches in the Castrense, San Jorge, and the church of Santo Tomás were all targeted with graffiti such as "Libres y combativas, 8M," "La iglesia que más ilumina es la que más arde" (The church that illuminates the most is the one that burns the most), and "Pederastas."

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Anarchist and Communist Graffiti on Public Cross

March 5, 2019, Spain

A purple anarchist "A" symbol and a hammer and sickle were sprayed on la Cruz de los Caídos de Revilla de Camargo (Cantabria) by unknown vandals.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Sex Education Guidelines May Interfere with Parents' Rights

March 4, 2019, United Kingdom

New "relationships and sex education" (RSE) guidance published on February 25th requires schools to teach primary and secondary school children about LGBT relationships and may not permit parents to opt-out. Parents of primary school children are permitted to withdraw their children from the sex education component of RSE, but the relationships component would be mandatory.

Rights of Parents

Organ and Stained Glass Windows Heavily Damaged at the Basilica of Saint-Denis

March 3, 2019, France

The organist of the Basilica Saint-Denis discovered that the doors of the 200-year-old organ had been broken and two stained glass windows had been smashed.

Vandals Broke Marble Railing in Gijón Church

March 2, 2019, Spain

During the day of March 2nd, unknown perpetrators entered the church of San José in Gijón and tipped over a heavy marble railing, breaking the structure.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Public Crucifix Vandalized in Carinthia

March 2, 2019, Austria

An arm from the Christ figure in a countryside crucifix was broken off by unknown vandals. Police are investigating.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church in Hochheim Vandalized

February 27, 2019, Germany

Three years after the arson in a confessional in the church St. Peter and Paul in Hochheim, one or more unidentified perpetrators damaged several hymnals, tore pages from the Gospel book on the side altar, and smashed the Easter candle. The stand containing religious literature was destroyed and holy water was dumped out.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Dublin Church Crypt Desecrated

February 25, 2019, Ireland

Vandals stole the head from an 800-year-old mummified body, known as “The Crusader” from the crypt of St. Michan's Church in Dublin. The crypt was badly damaged and several of the mummies, including the 400 year old remains of a nun, were desecrated in the incident.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Satanic Desecration in Chapels Near Franciscan Monastery in Katowice

February 23, 2019, Poland

Four rosary chapels in the calvary of Panevnicka in Katowice were desecrated by vandals who painted Satanic slogans and pentagrams on the doors and walls, as well as obscene drawings of male genitalia on the statues of holy figures including Jesus. Police as well as parishioners began a search for the perpetrators.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)