All cases

Man Arrested for Setting Fire at Bayonne Church

January 11, 2020, France

A man suspected of committing the January 11th arson attack on the Saint-Esprit church in Bayonne was arrested the following day. Investigators were able to quickly determine that the fire had been deliberately set and video surveillance images made it possible to identify the suspect who was seen in the images leaving the church a few minutes before the first smoke was visible. The fire, which left no one injured, was brought under control by the firefighters but the suffered extreme smoke damage. 

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Crèche Vandalized Near Rouen

January 11, 2020, France

The religious crèche of the Saint-André church in Mont-Saint-Aignan, near Rouen, was vandalized on January 11, with the decorations overturned and the figures broken. The statue of the baby Jesus was decapitated. After expressing his sadness to the parish and to the parish priest, Monsignor Dominique Lebrun, Archbishop of Rouen, deplored the incident as an "offense against the Christian faith."

Baby Jesus Stolen from Crèche in Lüneburg

January 11, 2020, Germany

The Lüneburg police opened an investigation into the theft of the Jesus figure from the church on Friedenstrasse between January 10th and 11th.

Theft

Vandalism and Theft in Borgolavezzaro Church

January 10, 2020, Italy

Just before 4 pm on January 10th, at least three men entered the church of Santi Bartolomeo e Gaudenzio and broke through the thick glass case of the shrine carved out of a side altar containing the containing the urn of Santa Giuliana, patron saint of the town. Using a crowbar, the thieves also broke the glass of the urn and stole a rosary crown, a gold crucifix, rings, and other valuables worn by the patron saint's mannequin. The figure's left hand was the most damaged, with two destroyed wax fingers.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Paint Attack on Catholic Church in Berlin

January 9, 2020, Germany

During the night between the 8th and 9th of January 2020 unknown perpetrators vandalized the historic building of St. Elisabeth-Kirche in Berlin-Schöneberg with black and white paint, sprayed the words “Pro Choice” on its entrance doors together with other unidentifiable symbols and glued the parish hall doors closed. A purported confession letter was later posted on the extreme left platform de.indymedia.org, naming a Berlin feminist/left-wing radical alliance as responsible for the vandalism.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Nine Statues of the Virgin Mary Attacked in Less than Four Hours in Pyrenees

January 9, 2020, France

On the morning of January 9th, in the space of 45 minutes, five statues of the Virgin Mary, located in three different churches of Pau (Pyrénées-Atlantiques): Saint-Martin, Saint-Jacques and Notre-Dame, were destroyed. Similar vandalism continued in the churches of the Béarn communes of Lons, Artix, Denguin, and Mourenx, where, each time, a statue of the Virgin was destroyed. A 35-year-old man, described as homeless, was arrested in Mourenx at the end of the day and sent for psychiatric evaluation.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christ Figures Stolen Twice in Two Weeks in Fabriano

January 7, 2020, Italy

The Christ child figure was stolen on Christmas Eve from the nativity in the church of San Giovanni Battista in Fabriano (Ancona). Volunteers purchased a new figure to replace it. The new figure was then stolen from the San Filippo church around Epiphany, but returned a few days later.

Theft

Live Nativity Play Parody on TV Sparks Outrage

January 5, 2020, Spain

Although it was intended to be "funny," the performance shown on the "Viva la vida" television program on the afternoon of January 5th was offensive and disrespectful to viewers. Taking advantage of the fact that that afternoon the typical Three Kings' parade was taking place, the program chose to parody the scene, using their presenters as protagonists. "Shameful" and "it is a lack of respect and humiliation" and "I am a Muslim, but this seems disrespectful to me, it is not necessary to play with the beliefs of Christians to try to be a trending topic" were some of the phrases that appeared on Twitter after "Viva la Vida" published an image of the performance.

Third Suspicious Fire in 18 Months at Syrian Orthodox Church

January 5, 2020, Sweden

On January 5th a fire was discovered in the meeting room of Syrian Orthodox St. Maria’s Church in Norrköping. After firefighters extinguished the fire, investigators classified it as arson. Just a month before, on December 3rd 2019 a similar incident occurred when someone poured gasoline outside the church and lit it. Those two fires were not the first time the building fell victim to a suspected arson attack. In August 2018 police investigated another case. The church assembly has been discussing plans enhance security, including enlisting volunteers take turns guarding the church at night to complement the police patrols and security cameras.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Two Nativity Scenes Burnt in Ivrea

January 4, 2020, Italy

Police in Ivrea (near Turin) identified a 46-year-old woman suspected of setting fire to two church nativity scenes: one in the church of San Maurizio and the second in the church of San Salvatore on January 4th. She faces a complaint for damage. The fires not only destroyed the two nativity scenes with plastic statuettes, but in the Church of San Maurizio the fire practically incinerated a painting by Tullio Alemanni, "The Baptism of Jesus," which was located above the baptismal font next to the crèche, in addition to a fresco, also by Alemanni, positioned between the crèche and the baptismal font.

Hate Crime