All cases

University of Edinburgh and University of Stirling Accused of Restricting Free Speech by Refusing to Affiliate Pro-Life Societies

September 28, 2020, United Kingdom

The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Children (SPUC) and the Alliance of Pro-Life Students (APS) published a report called Free2Speak on September 28, which analyzed campus censorship in Scotland. Each university was scored according to their policies towards pro-life students, societies and outside speakers and the students' experiences. Both Edinburgh and Stirling university were marked as "fails" in the survey because their students' unions refused to affiliate pro-life societies.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Increase in Vandalism Against Churches in Northern Ireland

September 16, 2020, United Kingdom

In the last three years, there have been more than 400 attacks recorded against churches. In the last five years it sums up to 600 attacks in Northern Ireland. Most of the attacks happened in Belfast. Most of the incidents are attacks with paint bombs and graffitis, but also various forms of vandalism, arson attacks and general damage to church property are recorded.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Theft from Catholic Church of St Anna

September 11, 2020, Germany

September 11th, between 12 and 19:30 hrs, a display case was broken open in the provost church of St. Anna in Schwerin. Unknown perpetrators stole the relic of Saint Ansgar. The perpetrators also broke open two alms boxes in the church. The total damage to property amounts to about 1,400 euros, but the value of the stolen relic has not been quantified. Police opened an investigation.

Theft

Inverted Yellow Cross Sprayed on the Door of La Antigua Church in Valladolid

September 10, 2020, Spain

A large inverted yellow cross was painted onto the main entrance door of La Antigua Church in Valladolid on September 10th. This is not the first time that the church was vandalized. The perpetrator remains unknown.

Defamation Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Statue of the Virgin Mary Decapitated in Borgo Sabotino

September 7, 2020, Italy

During the night of September 7th unknown perpetrators decapitated the statue of the Virgin Mary, called "Madonnina" by locals, which is situated in Borgo Sabotino in the province of Latina. This was not the first time the statue was vandalized the parish SS Cuore di Gesù states, expressing its deep sorrow over this tragic incident.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church Walls Vandalized With Graffiti In Ixelles

September 6, 2020, Belgium

Graffiti was found on the walls of Sainte-Croix Church which is situated close to Flagey Square in Ixelles. Tags include the phrases "God is gay", "Je suis a transwoman" ("I am a trans woman"), as well as an inverted cross and the number "666".

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Cemetery and Village Hall Vandalized in Saint-Urbain

August 29, 2020, France

During the night from August 29th to 30th, the cemetery and the village hall in Saint-Urbain (département de Finistère) were vandalized. Several crosses on private tombstones were broken, ornamental shells were taken off a monument dedicated to war victims in the community, and windows of the village hall Ti-Kreisker were smashed. Plougastel police began an investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Arson in the Church of San Gaspare del Bufalo in Albano Laziale

August 21, 2020, Italy

On August 21st the door of the church of San Gaspare del Bufalo in Albano Laziale was first drenched with gasoline and then purposefully set on fire. The church is a dearly held place of worship for many pilgrims, who come to the church every year, as well as for the locals. The priest of the parish and one candidate for the major's office of the city see a clear indication of bias, as the damage was intended to be devastating. They both do not perceive this attack, as a form of vandalism but of brutal arson and destruction. It is also speculated that the crime was instigated by satanist groups but the police is currently investigating in all directions.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Chapel of Santo Stefano Desecrated by Vandals

August 11, 2020, Italy

A small chapel in the hamlet of Montesardo in Alessandria was vandalized by unknown people. They used spray paint to write vulgar and blasphemous phrases and images such as "Fck church, Fck God" and an anarchist symbol. A Mass of Reparation was held.

Insult or Incitement Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Eglise Saint-Pierre Vandalized and Desecrated

August 11, 2020, France

During the night of 10-11 August, unknown perpetrators broke into the church of Saint-Pierre de Montendre. The large central crucifix was discovered smashed on the ground. Father Bergson Julien was shocked: "I went to open the church at 8.45 this Tuesday morning and found the large cross with Christ in terracotta on the floor, broken vases on the altar, and the tabernacle had disappeared". The tabernacle was later found, but the ciborium and lunula with consecrated hosts it contained were missing.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Increasing Attacks on German Street Preacher

August 10, 2020, Germany

Street preacher Henning Heinrich Westrup reported that attacks against him increased in July. He calls on people to repent and follow Jesus Christ in the pedestrian zones in Bielefeld, Dortmund and Gütersloh, among others. He reported that attacks against him by people who reject his message have increased. He said he experienced insults, vulgarities, and threats -- along with an assault in July.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Hate Crime

Profination of 63 tombs in Lannemezan

August 9, 2020, France

During the night of August 9th, 63 tombs were vandalized and desecrated in the Lannemezan cemetery in the Hautes-Pyrénées region. Broken crosses and upside down plaques were discovered by family members. Police was alerted by the neighbors, who heard the loud noise. Only a week after the incident the police already arrested two young men connected to the crime, who could face imprisonment up to 7 years.

Desecration Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christ Decapitated on Wayside Crucifix in Durlangen

August 5, 2020, Germany

Unknown perpetrators decapitated a statue of Christ on a large wayside cross standing in Durlangen. The police are uncertain when the incident occurred and have not identified the perpetrators. Damage is estimated to be around 2,000 Euros.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism of Christ Statue in Velbert

August 5, 2020, Germany

Red paint was discovered sprayed on a statue of Christ on the Cross in front of the Kirche St. Joseph in Velbert on August 5, 2020.

Vandalism and Theft in Pavignano Parish House

August 3, 2020, Italy

Unknown perpetrator(s) ransacked two rooms in the parish house of Pavignano, cut open mattresses and stole two TVs and an image of the Virgin Mary. The inside of the rooms left an image of complete destruction. The police opened an investigation and suspected a person from the Biella region to be the perpetrator, as the same person is suspected to have vandalized the church walls with insulting inscriptions against the police only a few days earlier.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Under Investigation: Fire Severely Damages the 13th Century Church of San Martín de Plasencia

August 2, 2020, Spain

A large fire caused serious damage during the night of August 2nd inside the iglesia de San Martín de Plasencia, the oldest in the city, and affected a valuable altarpiece by the painter Luis de Morales 'El Divino' from the 16th century and which presides over the main nave.

Vandalism of the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Gallipoli

August 1, 2020, Italy

During the night of August 1st vandals toppled over and smashed a stone holy water stoup in the small arena where religious masses are celebrated outdoors in the summer at the church of the Chiesa della Beata Vergine Maria Regina in Baia Verde di Gallipoli. The priest of the parish, Don Salvatore Leopizzi was immediately informed and saddened by the incident, which was not the first one to happen in his church. A police report was filed.

Under Investigation: Fire in Front of Church Saint Maximin in Wülfrath

August 1, 2020, Germany

In the early morning hours of August 1st, the Wülfrath fire brigade was called because of a fire on the premises of Saint Maximin Catholic Church endangering the church building, which is currently under construction. The fire was contained after 45 minutes and did not cause any damage to the church. The cause of the fire is unknown and arson has not been ruled out. The police are investigating.

Window Facade of Saint-Paul Church in Saint-Nazaire Damaged

July 31, 2020, France

During the night of July 31st the window facade of Saint Paul Church in Saint-Nazaire was severely damaged, apparently collateral damage of a wider outbreak of gun violence occurring throughout the city. Despite the extensive damage the church community gathered to celebrate Mass on Saturday evening.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism and Theft in Two Schwieberdingen Churches

July 31, 2020, Germany

During the night of July 31st, an unknown perpetrator gained access to the Protestant Georgskirche in Schwieberdingen through the sacristy, stole an antique chalice, and went on to smash a crystal window of the main building of the church. Only a few days earlier, the Catholic Church of St. Peter and Paul had been attacked. An unknown person broke open the offertory box as well as the cash box of the prayer candles and stole the small amount of cash contained in it. A police spokeswoman said that no clues to the perpetrator have been found so far. However, she said, one could assume a possible connection between the two crimes.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Politically-Motivated Vandalism of Cathedral of Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth

July 28, 2020, France

On the morning of July 28th parishioners discovered graffiti sprayed on the walls of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth in Vaison-la-Romaine. One tag read "vaut mieux une paire de mères qu’un père de merde" ("better a pair of mothers than a shitty father"). On another side of the cathedral, the word "sorcellerie" ("witchcraft") was painted. The vandalism appeared a day after Monsignor Cattenoz, Archbishop of Avignon, wrote an open letter to the deputies and senators of Vaucluse as well as to the local press denouncing the pending bioethics legislation in France. In his letter (in full below), he noted that if the law passes, "a woman will be able to give one of her fertilized oocytes to her partner, it will be implanted in her uterus so that they will both be mothers, erasing any reference to the importance of a father ... for the growth and life of a child."

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Activists Hang Rainbow Flag and Anarchist Bandana on Statue of Christ in front of Warsaw Basilica

July 28, 2020, Poland

During the night of July 28th activists from the self-described "anarchist-queer" community launched what they termed a "rainbow assault" across Warsaw. They placed a rainbow flag on the statue of Jesus Christ carrying the Cross in front of the Basilica and attached a purple anarchist bandana over Christ's face. Several of Warsaw's other famous monuments were similarly targeted. The activists left cards with a "manifesto" beginning with the phrases "This is an assault! It's a rainbow. It's an attack! We've decided to act." The message went on to say their provocative actions would continue until Polish society accepted them.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Religious Symbols

Theft and Vandalism in a Cemetery in Thionville

July 27, 2020, France

Between the 26th and 27th of July, about 21 bronze statuettes of Christ or the Virgin Mary were torn off and stolen from the Saint-François de Thionville communal cemetery (Moselle). Official said this was "a targeted, premeditated and large-scale operation."

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Repeated Vandalism of Virgin and Child Statue in Noirmoutier-en-l'Île

July 27, 2020, France

Unknown perpetrators vandalized the statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus during the night of July 27th for the third time -- this time, decapitating the head of the Christ child. In 2018, vandals beheaded both figures on the statue; and in mid-July, (see link below) the pedestal of the statue was vandalized with graffiti.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

UPDATE: Volunteer Charged with Nantes Arson

July 26, 2020, France

On Sunday, July 26th, the diocesan volunteer who had been questioned and released last week was indicted for the arson of the Nantes cathedral and placed in pre-trial detention.

Vandalism of Church, Cemetery, and Morgue in Günzkofen

July 26, 2020, Germany

During the night of Sunday 26th unknown perpetrators severely vandalized the cemetery of the St. Jakobus church and and the enclosed morgue. According to police, the perpetrators broke several windows of the church and the morgue at the cemetery in Günzkofen with grave decorations. In addition, they also tampered with several graves, causing total damage of about 1,000 euros.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism with Satanic Inscriptions Found on Church Doors in Goleszów

July 26, 2020, Poland

"666," a pentagram, an inverted cross, and the phrase "Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer" were painted on the door of the church in Goleszów by unknown perpetrators. The graffiti was noticed on the morning of July 26th by the priest who came to prepare the church for Mass. The police filed a report in this case and are investigating.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Barclays Bank and Online Platforms Closed Christian Charities' Accounts

July 25, 2020, United Kingdom

Two Christian organizations that help people “who voluntarily seek change in sexual preference and expression,” have been notified by Barclays Bank that their accounts would be closed. The move by the bank followed a social media campaign demanding that the bank end its professional relationship with Core Issues Trust (CIT) and The International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice (IFTCC), accusing both groups of promoting “conversion therapy.” In recent weeks, the UK government has pledged to ban "conversion therapy." The charities' head, Mike Davidson, disputes the use of the term: “The term ‘conversion therapy’ is being used as a catch-all phrase designed to discredit any help that people may provide to those with mixed sexual attractions who prefer their heterosexual side. This could include a listening ear, formal counselling or spiritual support.”

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

Vandalism of Wayside Cross in Bining

July 25, 2020, France

On July 25th, one of the wayside crosses in Bining (Moselle) was toppled over and smashed. The police are investigating and looking for possible witnesses.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Six Stained Glass Windows Smashed in Nîmes Church

July 24, 2020, France

Shortly before midnight on July 24th, a drunken man attacked the Saint-Baudile church in Nîmes, breaking six stained glass windows using a steel bar nearly two meters long. The man, known to the police, was arrested after being caught in the act.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Proposed Scottish Hate Crime Bill Threatens Freedom of Speech and Worship

July 23, 2020, United Kingdom

The Scottish Justice Committee has proposed a new hate crime bill, which extends the current hate crime law covering race, to include other "protected characteristics" such as religion, sexual orientation, and transgender identity. Christian and secular groups have criticized the bill as too broad and subjective, potentially interfering with freedom of speech and worship.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws

Fires Set in Tyrol Church; Witnesses Sought by Police

July 23, 2020, Austria

Would-be arsonists started a fire in the parish church in Waidring (Kitzbühel district) on July 23rd. According to police, between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m., unknown perpetrators distributed and lit several matchboxes, matches, and candles on the church pews. In addition, they tried to set fire to a hymn book, presumably using matches. Around 5:15 p.m., a witness noticed the smell of fire in the church, but the fire had already gone out. There was a similar incident on Monday, July 20th: according to investigators, burning ignition wicks had been placed on the kneelers of the church pews.

Hate Crime Hate Incident Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Swastikas, Blasphemies, and Anti-Salvini Graffiti on Asola Church

July 23, 2020, Italy

The parishioners of the church San Rocco in Asola discovered vandalism on the outside wall of the church, after they left Mass on the morning of July 24th. Unknown perpetrators painted black graffiti on the wall with a swastika symbol, blasphemous phrases, and anti-Salvini insults. The police and the priest of the church were immediately informed and the police filled a report.

Equality Legislation in Malta Threatens Freedom of Religion; Conscience; Expression

July 22, 2020, Malta

Proposed Equality Bills 96 and 97 are ostensibly aimed at protecting an extensive group of people from discrimination and cover areas such as schools, public religious symbols, and services and employment. The Bills would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, age, religious belief, state of health, and other “protected characteristics.” However, many sectors of society, including educators, professionals, business owners, health workers, parents, faith-based groups, and believers are concerned about the laws' overreach.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Equality Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws Rights of Parents

Church Site Vandalized Causing 5,000 Euros in Damage

July 21, 2020, Germany

On July 21st, unknown perpetrators vandalized the entire area surrounding the Protestant city church of Groß-Gerau. Yellow graffiti was sprayed on walls, wooden benches, a parking sign and wall pillars causing an estimated damage of 5,000 Euros. The police ares investigating the incident and asked the public for help identifying the vandals.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Suspicious Fire in Ligugé Abbey

July 21, 2020, France

A fire was discovered on July 20, 2020, just before midnight, in the building used as a laundry room at the Abbey Saint-Martin de Ligugé. According to firefighters, about 20 of the 100 m2 were destroyed. One person was detained and questioned. No charges have been announced.

"Fake Mass" Filmed and Vandalism in Maccagno

July 21, 2020, Italy

The police of Maccagno suspect a small group of young people to have entered the church of Our Lady of the Point through a half-opened door during the night of July 21st. They took liturgical vestments from the sacristy and climbed onto the altar to "celebrate Mass" on it. The vandals later moved to the shore of the lake where they, after drinking bottles of beer, left the empty beer carton on the head of the statue of the Virgin Mary. Videos of the "fake Mass" appeared on social media and the police began an investigation.

Desecration Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandals Smashed Four Windows of the Church of Großweitzschen

July 20, 2020, Germany

An employee of the parish of the church of Großweitzschen discovered on July 21st that four stained glass panes of the door on the organ tempore had been smashed the day before. Reports indicate that this is not the first time the church has been the victim of vandalism.

Vandalism of Virgin Mary Statue in Alt-Schwallbach Chapel

July 20, 2020, Germany

Between July 19th and 20th an unknown perpetrator cut off and stole the hands of the statue of the Virgin Mary in a chapel in Alt-Schwallbach. Local Catholics are shocked, as the vandalism contains a mysterious detail, the vandal supposedly took the cut off hands with him/her, as they could not be found in- or outside the chapel. The police is investigating the case.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Statue of the Virgin Mary Decapitated in Montaud

July 20, 2020, France

Unknown perpetrators decapitated a statue of the Virgin Mary in Montaud, an important monument for the local community with valuable symbolism. The mayor of the city Joel Raymond discovered the damage and filed a complaint.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Abbess of German Benedictine Convent Charged for Granting Church Asylum

July 20, 2020, Germany

The abbess of the German Benedictine convent Maria Frieden in Kirchschletten faced criminal charges for granting church asylum. The trial against Mother Mechthild Thürmer before the Bamberg District Court was scheduled for July 31. The abbess of the monastery in Upper Franconia had taken in an Eritrean woman in fall of 2018, who was to be deported to Italy. She disputed a penalty order for "aiding and abetting an illegal stay", combined with a fine of 2,500 euros, arguing for freedom of conscience.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion

Anarchist Tags on the Church of Saint Clement in Nantes

July 19, 2020, France

On July 19th, just a day after the fire at the cathedral in Nantes, the priest of the Fraternité Saint-Pierre serving the Saint-Clément church in Nantes discovered anarchist tags sprayed on the front of the church.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Armed Man Yelling "Allahu Akbar" Heading Toward Church Stopped by Motorist

July 19, 2020, France

A 38-year-old motorist stopped a man who was heading towards a church in Blanc-Mesnil, armed with a loaded machine gun, shouting "Allahu akbar." 

Hate Crime

Vandalism of Christ of Calvary on l’Île d’Arz

July 19, 2020, France

Unknown perpetrators broke the Christ of Calvary of Grèavo on the l’île d’Arz during the night of July 19th to 20th. The Christ figure was knocked off the large public crucifix and broken into several pieces. "A silly act, a sacrilege," reacts Christophe Stener, a local historian and resident. "Human stupidity has no limits. Whether one is a Christian or not, this act is revolting." The gendarmerie are investigating.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Window Front of Church in Bad Soden Smashed by Vandals

July 19, 2020, Germany

Unknown perpetrators destroyed the glass front of a church in Bad Soden on July 19th. The vandals smashed the glass panes of the Catholic Church in Salinenstraße, causing property damage amounting to several thousand euros. The police are investigating and asked for witness statements.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Arson Investigation after Fire Heavily Damaged Nantes Cathedral

July 18, 2020, France

In the early morning hours of July 18th, a fire began in the Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul cathedral, in the heart of Nantes. Passers-by saw flames behind the rosette window of the cathedral and alerted emergency services a little before 8:00 am. When firefighters arrived, they discovered "a violent fire at the level of the organ located behind the rosette window." Upon further investigation, it appeared that the fire had started in three locations: one fire had started near the organ, while the other two were at the other end of the cathedral.

Theft and Vandalism of Tabernacle in San Giovanni Church

July 18, 2020, Italy

During the night of July 18th unknown vandals smashed the tabernacle under the image of Mary in the side altar of San Giovanni church in Trieste. Additionally, two valuable brass candlesticks were stolen. Don Sergio Fransin discovered the vandalism and theft and immediately reported the crime to the police.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Satanists Suspected of Theft and Desecration in St. Johann Baptist Church in Krefeld

July 18, 2020, Germany

Unknown perpetrators have stolen the golden door of the tabernacle, a monstrance stance and money from an donation box. The tabernacle door was forcefully torn out and the donation box vandalized and money stolen. The community of St. Johann Baptist Church suspects satanists to be the perpetrators, who use the stolen objects for satanic rituals, because the golden altar cross was not stolen, which speaks against just a monetary motivation.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Statue Of Virgin Mary Mutilated at the Miraculous Spring of Our Lady of Banneux

July 17, 2020, Belgium

Pilgrams to the miraculous spring of our Lady of Banneux discovered the severe mutilation of the statue of the Virgin Mary, which is situated above the spring. It is speculated that the vandalism took place in the week before July 17th. The face of the statue has been particularly mutilated therefore, the statue was replaced by an exact replica.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

New Same-Sex Marriage Law in Northern Ireland Threatens Freedom of Conscience

July 17, 2020, United Kingdom

The Parliament of Northern Ireland passed a new marriage law for same-sex couples, which has two implications for the church and Christian business owners. The law prohibits private business to deny service to same-sex couples arguing for freedom of conscience. Additionally, the new legislation allows same-sex couples of faith to have religious wedding ceremonies in church or other religious settings if all parties agree.

Freedom of Conscience