All cases

Gironde: 55 Vandalized Graves in a Cemetery in Gujan-Mestras

May 21, 2020, France

Fifty-five graves in the church cemetery of Gujan-Mestras were damaged by vandals during the evening of May 21st. Crosses and crucifixes were broken, as well as plaques and flower pots. Police opened an investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Calvary Destroyed in Assé-le-Béranger

May 20, 2020, France

A witness reported to the Observatoire de la Christianophobie on May 20 that the calvary erected in front of the Assé-le-Béranger town hall of Assé-le-Béranger had been broken by a sledgehammer. Some inhabitants of the small village of 450 people interviewed by the witness expressed shock over this act of vandalism which is estimated to have occurred in the previous two weeks.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Saint Boniface Statue Vandalized with Anti-Christian Graffiti

May 16, 2020, United Kingdom

Residents of Crediton (Devon) have expressed their disgust after the statue of St. Boniface was targeted by vandals. The graffiti, scrawled across the base of the statue, reads: "God is dead. Pagan justice."

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Repeated Arson at Church An Maria Waldrast in Krefeld

May 16, 2020, Germany

On May 16th, unknown perpetrators set fire to the memorial altar in the church An Maria Waldrast in Krefeld. Previous arson attempts had been reported to the police in February and March 2020. The police are investigating and suspects an intentional arson. A volunteer at the church discovered the fire and was able to extinguish it with another witness. There was no damage and no one was injured.

Hate Crime Hate Incident Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Theft in the Cathedral of Wiener Neustadt

May 15, 2020, Austria

On the first day that the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown was lifted, unknown perpetrators gained access to the Cathedral of Wiener Neustadt on May 15th. They stole a statue known as the "Prager Jesulein," a Jesus statue with a golden crown from 1750, from the Trinity Altar. They then went on to the Mariazeller Altar on the opposite side and stole two crowns from a statue of Mary and Jesus. Both statues were placed inside of glass showcases. The theft did not cause much monetary loss, as the crowns were cheap replicas, but rather a cultural loss. This was not the first theft the church had to endure.

Theft

Two Brutal Thefts within 48 Hours in Two Churches in Freising

May 12, 2020, Germany

Twice within 48 hours in mid-May, unknown perpetrators committed burglaries in Freising churches. They gained access to the buildings in an extremely brutal manner and caused great damage - but the value of the loot is low, in one case nothing was stolen. In order to gain access to various rooms, the perpetrator(s) also destroyed several window panes, among other things. According to initial estimates, the resulting property damage amounts to around 5,000 euros, disproportionally outweighing the cost of the stolen objects.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Destruction of the Summit Crucifix of Pic Saint-Loup near Montpellier

May 10, 2020, France

Between the evening of May 9th and and the morning of May 10th, unidentified vandals cut down the emblematic summit crucifix of Pic Saint-Loup at its base. The iron cross overlooking Montpellier, which weighs 900 kg and is nearly ten meters high, was reportedly detached with a blowtorch or drills and left hanging over the 658 meters from the top of the peak. Inscriptions in red paint reading "Larcins des sorcières hérétiques" (crimes of heretical witches", "Le Pic Laïque" (the secular peak), and "Witch Power" (in English) were left on the pedestal. Police are investigating.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Parish Priest Fined for Celebrating Mass with Thirty People inside Church

May 10, 2020, Spain

On May 10th, municipal police fined the rector of Lloret for saying Mass with about thirty people inside the church. The priest, Martirià Brugada, however, defended his actions and, in fact, finished the Mass with the parishioners outside the church and the windows open.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Religion

Theft in the Coptic Orthodox Church St. Athanasius and St. Moritz in Münster-Sarmsheim

May 10, 2020, Germany

Unknown perpetrators broke into the Coptic Orthodox Church of St. Athanasius and St. Moriz. According to police reports on May 14th, the incident occurred on May 10th at about 1:30 pm. The police located marks on the front and back doors, where the perpetrators had tried to enter the church. Finally they smashed a roof window and climbed into the church. They ransacked all the rooms, damaged various objects and stole two incense burners.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Cornerstone Adoption and Fostering Service Seeks Judicial Review after Ofsted Downgrade

May 7, 2020, United Kingdom

The High Court in Leeds held a judicial review of the watchdog Ofsted’s actions against Cornerstone Adoption and Fostering Service in North East England on the 6th and 7th of May. The Christian fostering agency took the government regulator to court for downgrading Cornerstone’s fostering service from “Good” to “Requires Improvement.” 

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

Salzburg Catholic Organization Targeted with "Pro Choice" Vandalism

May 5, 2020, Austria

The cars belonging to the Catholic initiative, HOME Mission Base Salzburg, were sprayed with "Pro Choice" and the windows were smashed by unknown vandals.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Wooden Cross in Church Courtyard Set on Fire

May 5, 2020, Germany

Unknown persons set fire to a three-meter-high wooden cross in the inner courtyard of the parish hall of the Catholic parish Edith Stein in Ludwigshafen during the night from May 4th to 5th. The main pillar was scorched by the fire. The police estimate the damage at 200 euros.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Theft of All Equipment for Online Church Service in Wermelskirchen

May 3, 2020, Germany

Unknown perpetrators stole all of the technical equipment of the Protestant Free Church in Dabringhausen on May 4th, which was vital in times of COVID-19 in order to be able to provide Sunday service online to the church community. The police presumed that the perpetrator must have had a car to transport all of the equipment and probably let him- or herself lock in, in the church on the evening before because no indication for a break-in was found. It is difficult for the church to quickly organize and finance new equipment, so that the online-service is not stopped for too long and also the re-opening of the church for small groups is halted due to police investigations at the church venue.

Theft

Afghan Asylum Seeker Arrested after Threatening to "Slit Christians' Throats"

April 26, 2020, Belgium

A Muslim migrant from Afghanistan was arrested on April 26th after he made serious threats against the employees of the asylum center in Helchteren. The 24-year-old man also said he wanted to 'slit Christians' throats' and would blow himself up to kill as many Christians as possible. The police had responded to the center earlier in the week when the man refused to wash his hands in compliance with the coronavirus regulations, claiming that there was alcohol in the soap and therefore he would not use it during Ramadan. That incident escalated when the man began coughing and spitting at people around him.

Hate Crime Hate Incident Insult or Incitement

Village Church Vandalized in Northern France

April 23, 2020, France

The village church of Saint-Remy in Marly-Gomont was found vandalized on April 23rd despite a coronavirus lockdown confining people to their homes.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Decapitation of Marian Statue in Sumène

April 23, 2020, France

Unknown perpetrators decapitated a Marian Statue in Sumène on June 23rd. The attack was allegedly made with a stone that was found next to the statue along with the cut off head. The mayor of the city, Ghislain Pallier, already filled a complaint.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Attack on Church in Lesvos

April 14, 2020, Greece

The small church of Agia Aikaterini, which is located on the road leading to the Moria refugee camp in Lesvos, was the target of unknown vandals who caused extensive damage in early April.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Religious Freedom Observatory Denounces Cancellation of Masses

April 13, 2020, Spain

The president of the Observatory for Religious Freedom and Conscience (OLRC) sent a letter to the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, asking for "explanations" and showing her "discomfort" about the suspension of Masses in the course of their celebration that has taken place in different parts of Spain during Lent and Holy Week.

Freedom of Religion

Vejleå Church in Ishøj Vandalized with Islamist Graffiti

April 12, 2020, Denmark

On April 12th, the Vejleå Church in Ishøj was vandalized with phrases such as, "We conquer Denmark," and, in Arabic, "There is no God but Allah."

Insult or Incitement Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church of England Clergy Banned by Bishop from Ministering to Sick and Dying

April 9, 2020, United Kingdom

Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, wrote to all Church of England clergy and volunteer hospital chaplains warning them not to minister to any sick or dying hospital patients showing symptoms of the Corona virus. The intention of this effective ban is to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. However, according to Christian Today reporting on 9 April 2020: “The guidance applies only to temporary volunteer chaplains. Full-time NHS chaplains are permitted to continue ministering face to face”.

Attempted Arson and Vandalism at Christchurch in Graz-Eggenberg

April 8, 2020, Austria

An unknown perpetrator smashed the window of Christ Church in Graz with a stone and then set newspapers on fire and threw them inside the church through the smashed window. Fortunately, the burning newspapers did not cause a fire inside the church. Witnesses saw the incident and reported it to the police, who asked for help in finding the perpetrator.

Hate Crime Hate Incident Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Model Of Basilica Of San Simplicio Di Olbia Vandalized

April 5, 2020, Italy

The model of the basilica of San Simplicio in Olbia, a meticulous reconstruction and a symbol of the city, was damaged by vandals. Unknown perpetrators broke the roof and the top of the facade. This incident occurred while the city was on lock-down due to the corona virus. It was not the first time the monument had been vandalized.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Parish Offices of the Church of Amabilina Vandalized

April 4, 2020, Italy

Unknown intruders vandalized the parish offices of the San Giovanni Maria Vianney of Amabilina church in Marsala. The printer and the drawer of the photocopier were opened and the electrical wire was cut. Nothing was stolen because money and valuables had been removed while the church remains closed due to corona virus precautions.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Golden Cross Stolen from Osnabrück Chruch

April 3, 2020, Germany

Sometime during Holy Week unknown perpetrators broke open a glass case in the St. Joseph Church in the Miquelstraße in Osnabrück and stole a golden cross. The police are investigating and searching for witnesses.

Theft

Window Smashed at Protestant Church

April 1, 2020, Germany

An unknown person smashed a window of the evangelischen Gemeinde Mainz-Laubenheim with a stone between April 1st and 2nd. The police are investigating and searching for witnesses.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Fire at Catholic Church in Rohrbach

March 29, 2020, Germany

Sunday afternoon unknown perpetrators set fire to the catholic church in the Sudetenstraße in Rohrbach. A stacks of newspapers caught fire at the rear entrance of the church. The firefighters quickly extinguished the fire, so only the church walls and the door were slightly affected. The police are investigating and searching for witnesses.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Polish Village Shocked over Vandalism in Cemetery

March 28, 2020, Poland

During the night between the 28th and 29th of March unknown people vandalized several tombstones, knocked over plaques and crosses, and broke many candles in the parish cemetery in Wysoka, despite the corona virus lockdown measures in Poland. The police are investigating and searching for witnesses.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism at St. Remigius Church

March 28, 2020, Germany

On the afternoon of March 28th, an unknown perpetrator broke into and damaged the organ case of the church Saint Remigius in Ingelheim. Furthermore, one page of the Gospel book, which has been laid out and opened, was set on fire. Just before this criminal incident a witness noticed a "strange" man, who pretended to want to play something on the organ. The police are investigating and searching for more witnesses.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Theft of Statue of the Virgin Mary in Dorsten

March 27, 2020, Germany

On March 25th a statue of the Virgin Mary was stolen from the St. Antonius church in Dorsten. CCTV captured a couple entering the church and stealing the relic. The police is investigating and asking the public for help to find the statue, as it has a high ideational value for the parish.

Religious Symbols Theft

Significant Vandalism in St. Michael Kirche

March 26, 2020, Germany

Between 6:00 and 7:20 pm on the evening of March 26th, an unknown perpetrator vandalized the St. Michael Kirche on Kämpenstraße in Versmold. A shelf with Easter candles was knocked over, and the candles were scattered throughout the church. A large glass sanctuary lamp with the eternal flame candle was destroyed and a microphone was torn out of the ambo. The police are investigating and searching for witnesses.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Offensive Graffiti on Church Door in Poznań

March 25, 2020, Poland

The main entrance door of the church on Dąbrówki Street in Poznań was smeared by an unknown perpetrator during the night of March 24th to March 25th. An anarchist "A" symbol was sprayed on a pillar and the phrase "zdejmij suknię śmieciu" This roughly translates to: "take off your dress, punk" in blue paint was sprayed on the church. The police are investigating and searching for witnesses.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Theft from Church in Mantes-La-Ville

March 23, 2020, France

While France is subject to lockdown measures related to the coronavirus, thieves stole three video projectors and the money collected during Masses from the safe in the church of Sacré-Cœur in Mantes-la-Ville on March 23rd.

Theft

Fire Set in Saint Anna Church

March 21, 2020, Germany

An unknown person set fire to the seat cushion of a wooden prayer bench in the Catholic Church of Saint Anna in Blieskastel-Biesingen. This incident happened between the evening of March 21st and the afternoon of March 22. The police are investigating and searching for witnesses.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Nativity Figures Stolen from a Church

March 21, 2020, Germany

Unknown perpetrators broke into the Evangelical church on the Ringstraße in Aldekerk, Kerken through a broken window between the evening of March 21st and the morning of the 22nd. They searched several cupboards and stole two nativity figures, before fleeing in an unknown direction. The police are investigating.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism of Church in Italy Despite Quarantine

March 20, 2020, Italy

The coronavirus quarantine did not prevent the vandalism of a church: during the night between March 20th and March 21st, the church of Santa Restituta in Sora was defaced with black and red spray paint.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Chick-fil-A Closes its Reading restaurant

March 20, 2020, United Kingdom

In October 2019, the American restaurant Chick-fil-A signed a six-month lease and opened a franchise in The Oracle shopping center in Reading. LGBT protesters promptly began a "Get the Chick Out" boycott campaign, due to the company's previous support of a Christian charity which opposed same-sex marriage. The company indicated that the closure was part of its strategy of opening "pilot license locations“ with limited menus in partnership with local organizations to test the waters while expanding.  

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

Heavy Damage after Break-in at Schwalbach Church

March 19, 2020, Germany

At around two in the morning on February 19th, two perpetrators broke into a church in Schwalbach am Taunus and leaving at least 5,000 euros in damage. They destroyed a glass pane in the rear area, pried open the main entrance and broke open several doors and cupboards made out of wood and glass. It was unclear whether anything was stolen. A witness reported observing two men fleeing the church (about 1.70 meters tall, Mediterranean looking and darkly dressed). The police are investigating.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Man Arrested for Norway Church Fires

March 19, 2020, Norway

Police arrested and charged a man in his 20s for a church fire in Dombås and attempted arson at a church in Sel. The man admitted criminal charges. "He has stated as a reason for the actions that he was angry and cursed because [he heard that] a Norwegian man set fire to the Koran without the police having done anything about it," Hedmarken district court wrote in the ruling.

Hate Crime

Saint-Laurent Church Stained Glass Windows Smashed

March 17, 2020, Belgium

On March 17th unknown people threw stones at the stained glass windows of the Saint-Laurent church in Piétrebais and broke them. According to reports, the church's windows have been targeted by vandals during the school holidays over the past four years, resulting in more than 16,000 euros in damage.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Arson at Historic Church of Saint-Apollinaire

March 16, 2020, France

On March 16th, unidentified perpetrators set fire to the church Saint-Apollinaire built in the 12th century in Meximieux in eastern France. The fire was extinguished by local firefighters and police arrested the arsonists, but still the church will be closed to the public until further notice.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Graffiti Sprayed on Göttschied Church Walls

March 15, 2020, Germany

During the night between March 15th and March 16th unknown perpetrators sprayed graffiti on the walls of the Protestant Abteikirche in Göttschied (Idar-Oberstein). Police are investigating

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Statue of Virgin Mary Vandalized

March 11, 2020, Italy

The statue of the Virgin of the Church of Rio Salso in Tavullia was vandalized with a fake joint and cartridge taped on the figure's mouth and hand on March 11th.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism in Güthersloh Church

March 8, 2020, Germany

Alerted by loud noises coming from the St. Pankratius church, a witness discovered a vandalized entrance, a broken window, and that the altar cover and a tablecloth had been set on fire. A 62-year-old resident of Güthersloh, was considered a suspect.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Homeless Man Vandalized German Church

March 7, 2020, Germany

During the night between March 6th and 7th, a man broke into the church of Ellenberg in Guxhagen and destroyed the inside of the church. The damage amounted to 10,000 euros. The rioter threw hymn books on the floor and damaged and knocked church pews over. Furthermore the painting above the pulpit was damaged with a pointed object and the carpet was ruined. The alleged perpetrator, a homeless 49-year-old man, was arrested on the morning of March 7th.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Bible set on fire in Krefeld Church

March 6, 2020, Germany

On March 6th, fires were set in the Catholic church Maria Waldrast in Krefeld. Between 10:00 and 6:00 p.m. someone set fire to a bible under a prayer bench in the nave of the church, as well as the paper displays in the entrance. The damage was minor. A week earlier, someone set a basket on fire in the church. The police began an investigation and sought witnesses.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Burglars Smash Stained Glass Window at Leicester Cathedral

March 4, 2020, United Kingdom

Sometime between 6 p.m. on March 4th and 7:20 a.m. on March 5th, burglars smashed a stained glass window in the chapel of Christ the King at the eastern end of Leicester Cathedral, next to the room where Richard III is buried at Leicester Cathedral.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Profanation and Theft in Saint-Gault Church

March 4, 2020, France

In the beginning of March 2020 the church Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais in Quelaines-Saint-Gault became a target of desecration and theft. The tabernacle was opened and the ciborium with the consecrated hosts was stolen. A Mass of reparation was celebrated on March 7th. The police took fingerprints and are searching for witnesses.

Desecration Theft

Religious Discrimination against Christian Seniors Group by Innsbruck's Social Services

March 4, 2020, Austria

A seniors group of Christians from recognised religious communities such as the Catholic Church, the Protestant Church and the Free Churches in Austria (FKÖ) is no longer allowed to use the tax-financed community centre after several years of use. In an e-mail from ISD (Innsbrucker Soziale Dienste), the Christian seniors group was informed that "prayers, devotions, hymns of praise, Bible readings or the like" are no longer permitted in the ISD Community Centre in Wilten with immediate effect. Representatives of political parties and Tyrollean citizens are protesting against this decision accusing of violating religious freedom.

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

Arson at Swiss Church

March 3, 2020, Switzerland

On the afternoon of March 3rd, an arson attack was committed in the Eusebiuskirche in Grenchen. Fortunately, the fire was discovered before major damage was caused. The police are looking for witnesses.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Orthodox Church on Lesvos Vandalized by Refugees

March 2, 2020, Greece

News reports indicate that the Greek Orthodox church of St. George was ransacked on March 2nd. According to witnesses, the vandalism was caused by refugees residing on the island. This news came as tensions ran high due to the arrival of hundreds of refugees and migrants after Turkey "opened the doors" for them to enter Europe.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

MP Interviewed by Police for Questioning Church Leadership

March 2, 2020, Finland

On March 2nd, member of the Finnish Parliament Päivi Räsänen faced a police interrogation because of a tweet she posted in June 2019. The tweet was directed at the leadership of her church and questioned its official sponsorship of the LGBT event “Pride 2019”, accompanied by an image of a bible text.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Trémorel Church Vandalized

March 1, 2020, France

During the night from March 1st to March 2nd, someone broke into and vandalized the church of Trémorel (Côtes-d'Armor). The tabernacle was destroyed and the consecrated hosts were found scattered on the ground.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Andancette Cemetery Vandalized

February 26, 2020, France

Several Christian graves were vandalized in the cemetery of Andancette. A family who went to the grave of a loved one noticed the damage and alerted the gendarmes on Sunday morning. According to the mayor of Andancette, "around fifteen graves have been damaged with crucifixes, gravestones and plaques broken."

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Theft and Desecration of Tabernacle in St. Michael Church

February 26, 2020, Germany

During the night between February 26th and 27th unknown perpetrators broke into the church Saint Michael in Vöhringen, damaged several doors, opened the tabernacle by force and stole two ciboria filled with consecrated hosts. The financial damage amounts to 20,000 euros and the religious loss is incalculable.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Collegiate Church Vandalized in Aveyron

February 25, 2020, France

On February 25th, an unknown person broke a door handle, attempted to force a display case, overturned statues, and broke the hands of the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes in the collegiate church of Notre-Dame de Villefranche-de-Rouergue in Aveyron.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Surveillance System Installed in Church due to Vandalism

February 23, 2020, United Kingdom

Due to repeated vandalism, drug-dealing, and abuse of volunteers in the Holy Trinity Church in Exmouth, a surveillance system with seven cameras will be installed as a "necessary security measure."

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Charente-Maritime: the Church of Port-d'Envaux desecrated, vandalized, and looted

February 22, 2020, France

Parishioners discovered vandalism, desecration, and theft in the Saint-Saturnin-de-Séchaud church in Port d'Envaux on February 22nd. They found the door of the sacristy broken, the door of the tabernacle forced open, consecrated hosts stolen, and the altar of the Virgin Mary damaged. All objects of value were stolen from the sacristy.

Desecration Hate Crime Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Four Young Women Vandalized Church; Set Fire to the Altar

February 20, 2020, Spain

National Police reviewed the security cameras of the church of San Pedro de La Felguera to try to locate the four young women who caused at least 600 euros in damage inside the church on February 20th. Video recordings revealed that the young women entered the church, used and stole two of the microphones, sat on the altar, burned candles and set fire to books and the altar cloth.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Saint Gregory Palamas Holy Metropolitan Church Vandalized in Thessaloniki

February 19, 2020, Greece

Two young men were arrested and charged with vandalism at the Church of St. Gregory Palamas in Thessaloniki. The 24 and 22-year-olds splattered paint and scattered flyers at the busts in the Metropolitan Courtyard. The young men, members of the Thessaloniki Freedom Initiative, claim they acted in protest against “obscurantism and nationalism.”

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Pilgrimage Church of Agios Stefanos in Trikala Targeted by Vandals

February 19, 2020, Greece

Unknown vandals wrote slogans with indelible spray on the walls outside the church and on the doors. The graffiti includes an anarchy symbol and the words “No Gods.” The church is a place of pilgrimage because it was where Saint Ephraim of Nea Makri was baptized.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Broken Church Windows In Dorchester

February 19, 2020, United Kingdom

On February 19th and February 21st an unknown person broke the rear windows of The Storehouse Church in Dorchester by throwing stones at them. The police are investigating and searching for witnesses.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christian Converts Must Prove Continued Faith or Face Deportation

February 16, 2020, Germany

"Kurosh," an Iranian convert to Christianity who received asylum in Germany four years ago, faced a 25,000 euro fine or a prison sentence if he did not respond to a lengthy series of questions about his faith from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). He was also required to provide a certificate from the pastor at his church to demonstrate his commitment to his faith. He reports that he provided all the information requested, but remains in fear that this will happen again. This is the BAMF "Revocation and Withdrawal Procedure."

Access to Justice and Legal Services

Iranian Christian Convert Faces Deportation

February 16, 2020, United Kingdom

Reza Karkah, an Iranian Christian, faces the prospect of imprisonment, torture and separation from his wife and child after the UK Home Office rejected his application for asylum on the basis that he was ‘fabricating’ his Christian faith.

Access to Justice and Legal Services

Daily Damage in Cathedral Prompts Abbot of Saint-Dié to File Complaint

February 16, 2020, France

The abbot of Saint-Dié lodged a complaint following a series of degradations in his cathedral since the end of January. Incidents included candles being knocked over, fires being started, and excrement deposited in several places in the building. The mayor of the town responded by assigning two police officers to surveil the building.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism of Isle of Man Church

February 15, 2020, United Kingdom

Between the afternoon of February 15th and the morning of the 16th, an unknown person or group broke into and vandalized the Christ Church in Laxey. The incident disrupted the Sunday morning services. Police are investigating and searching for witnesses.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Paint Bomb Thrown at Catholic Church in Larne

February 15, 2020, United Kingdom

During the night between the 15th and 16th of February, an unknown perpetrator threw a paint bomb at St. MacNissi's Parish Church in Larne. The police treated the incident as a sectarian hate crime as they investigated and searched for witnesses.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

"Carnival" Replaced by "Fancy-Dress Party" in Netherlands Public School

February 14, 2020, Netherlands

A primary school in Zevenaar renamed its traditional Carnival celebration as a "fancy dress party" on the initiative of the parents' association. They claimed that Carnival, originally a Catholic festival, would not suit the public nature of the primary school.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

Burglary from Church Discovered during Funeral

February 13, 2020, France

The people who opened the Église Saint-Symphorien in Valvignères on February 13th for a funeral discovered signs of a burglary. Evidence of a break-in were found at one of the access doors, and several objects were missing: two chalices, two patens, a monstrance, two ciboriums, two cruets, two holy water fonts, and a baccarat crystal chandelier of significant size and weight. It appeared that the intruders also tried break into the sacristy and forced the door of the tabernacle with a crowbar. It was unclear from reports whether consecrated hosts were stolen.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Violent Burglary in Saint-Charbel Monastery

February 13, 2020, Belgium

Three masked individuals armed with a crowbar burst into the Saint-Charbel Monastery in Ophain-Bois-Seigneur-Isaac between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m. on February 13th. The intruders detained a monk and forced him to open various doors, including those of a parish office and furniture containing offerings. The identity of the perpetrators and extent of the loss have not been determined. The monastery, run by the Lebanese Maronite Order, is home to refugees hosted by the monks.

Hate Crime Theft

29-Year-Old Man Confessed to Damaging Roadside Shrines

February 12, 2020, Poland

A 29-year-old man who confessed to damaging roadside shrines in Jacinki, Kościernica and Szczeglino between February 12th and 13th faces up to two years in prison. "He confessed to committing these acts. He couldn't explain why he destroyed the shrines," the press officer of the Koszalin police said, noting that statues of the Virgin Mary were destroyed and crosses were broken.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Repeated Damage and Vandalism in the Cathedral of Saint-Dié-des-Vosges

February 9, 2020, France

After two weeks of finding broken candles, altar cloths on the ground, urine sprayed here and there and feces left daily in the cathedral of Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, the priest reported the incidents to the police and has considered closing the building to visitors during the day.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Broken Window in Church of St. Maxamilian Kolbe

February 9, 2020, Poland

In the early hours between the 8th and 9th of February, the church of St Maximilian Kolbe, in the town of Konin, Poland was vandalized by unknown perpetrators. Konin police spokesman Sebastian Wiśniewski confirmed that it appears that a glass window was broken intentionally and damage is estimated at 5000 zlotys (1170 Euros).

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Calls for Calm after Young Men Draped North African Flags from Church Roof

February 9, 2020, France

A priest filed a complaint against a group of individuals who hung the flags of Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco from the roof of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste church in Albi during the afternoon of February 9th. The perpetrators had already removed the flags and fled the scene when the police arrived. While there was minimal damage, the priest said, "I consider this to be a serious fact, an act of distrust. It is an act of disrespect for the place of worship and for Christians. Some people were shocked."

Insult or Incitement

Arson in Oetwil am See Church

February 7, 2020, Switzerland

On February 7th, shortly before 5 a.m., heavy smoke came from the Kirche am Chilenrain in Oetwil am See. According to the Zurich cantonal police, the fire caused property damage of several hundred thousand francs. A 41-year-old was arrested on suspicion of setting the fire.

Hate Crime

Nice: Offensive Graffiti on Church Cemetery Wall

February 7, 2020, France

On February 7, graffiti reading GOD GAY in rainbow colors was discovered on on the wall of the Saint-Barthélemy cemetery which adjoins the church of the same name ( Bon-Pasteur parish) in Nice.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

All Scheduled UK Venues Cancel Franklin Graham Tour Events

February 6, 2020, United Kingdom

On January 24th, the ACC Liverpool Group announced that it would no longer hold the previously-scheduled Graham Tour Event due to objections from LGBT activists over Graham's past statements about homosexuality. Graham responded by saying “I’m not coming to the UK to speak against anybody, I’m coming to speak for everybody. The Gospel is inclusive. I'm not coming out of hate, I'm coming out of love.” As of February 11th, the other venues that cancelled events were: International Convention Centre Wales in Newport, Glasgow SEC, Sheffield Arena, Arena Birmingham, and Stadium Milton Keynes.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

"We Will Burn the Churches" Sprayed on Trento Church

February 2, 2020, Italy

At least a dozen young people gathered around the back of the church of San Pietro in Trento late on February 1st, yelling and threatening to use spray paint against the church. After much commotion, the inscription "We will burn the churches" was painted on the wall of the church, along with other graffiti on a nearby building. Police will examine images from the security camera that was installed last year to identify the perpetrators.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Rare Relic of Saint John Henry Newman Stolen from Chapel in Birmingham

February 2, 2020, United Kingdom

The relic of British Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890), canonised only last October, was stolen from his chapel in Birmingham. “Sadly, the only piece of bone thought to have been St John Henry’s was stolen from its casket in the Newman Shrine,” read a notice in the Oratory’s February newsletter. The Fathers have appealed for anyone who had seen any suspicious activity to come forward.

Theft

Desecration of Tabernacle and Theft in Carrión de los Céspedes

January 29, 2020, Spain

Just two days after the desecration and theft from the chapel of the Clinical Hospital of Valencia, a group of thieves attacked the parish of Carrión de los Céspedes in Seville, stealing several religious objects and the gold crowns of the two figures of the Virgin of the Rosary and the Child Jesus that were prepared for a procession on February 1st for the 400th anniversary of the Brotherhood of the Rosary of Carrión.

Desecration Hate Crime Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Employment Tribunal Judge Investigated after Sarah Kuteh Trial

January 27, 2020, United Kingdom

Judge Brian Doyle, the President of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales, has re-opened an investigation into Employment Judge Martin Kurrein’s conduct during the high-profile trial of Sarah Kuteh in 2017, following a Christian Legal Centre (CLC) complaint.

Consecrated Hosts Stolen from Chapel Moments Before Mass

January 26, 2020, Spain

On January 26th, moments before the celebration of the evening Mass, unknown perpetrators removed the monstrance holding the consecrated host, a pyx (a small round container holding a consecrated host), and a ciborium with fifty consecrated hosts inside from the tabernacle of the Chapel of the Hospital Clínico Universitario de Valencia. The monstrance was later found in the chapel's confessional and dozens of consecrated hosts were discovered scattered on the street.

Desecration Hate Crime Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Chapel Destroyed with Fire Extinguisher

January 22, 2020, Germany

On January 22nd, an unknown perpetrator destroyed the prayer room of the Christuskirche in Lüdenscheid using a fire extinguisher. He entered the chapel between 4:00 and 6:00 in the afternoon, when it was open to the general public, and sprayed the contents of the fire extinguisher all over the floor, walls, and furniture. The damage is estimated at approximately 500 euros. The local police are looking for witnesses to this incident, described as a "special case of senseless destructive rage."

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Wales: Parents Lose Right to Withdraw Children from Sex Ed

January 21, 2020, United Kingdom

Following plans first proposed in a government consultation last year, parents of children attending Welsh schools will no longer have a legal right to withdraw their children from compulsory relationships and sex education (RSE), as well as and religious education (RE) classes.

Freedom of Conscience Rights of Parents

"Parental Pin" Policy Prompts Legal Action and Debate in Spain

January 20, 2020, Spain

A new policy aimed at affirming parental authority in Spanish schools in Murcia has made national headlines in the country. The so-called 'Parental Pin' would oblige schools in the autonomous region of Murcia to seek the permission of parents for student participation in extra-curricular activities, including lessons and workshops on LGBT issues given by external speakers.

Freedom of Conscience Rights of Parents

Antifascist Grafitti on Le Mans Church

January 19, 2020, France

Civic group Protège ton église documented graffiti reading "FACHOS NOT WELCOME" sprayed on the church Saint Benoît au Mans during the weekend of January 19th.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Eight Churches and Two Schools Hit By Vandalism in Bordeaux over Weekend

January 19, 2020, France

Eight churches and two Catholic educational establishments were vandalized with graffiti in Bordeaux and Talence during the night between January 18th to 19th. The churches affected were: Notre-Dame, Saint-Eloi, Sainte-Croix, Sainte Eulalie, Saint-Seurin, Sacré-Coeur, and Saint-Paul in Bordeaux, the church of Notre-Dame de Talence and on the Catholic educational establishments of Albert le Grand and Saint-Genès in Bordeaux. The offensive tags, referring to pedophilia in the Church and to the bioethics bill, all had the same signature.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Bus Filled with Catholic Pilgrims Attacked by Masked Protesters

January 19, 2020, France

A bus filled with Catholics bound for Pontmain was prevented from leaving the diocesan house in Caen by approximately twenty masked people in black holding a banner and shooting paintball pellets at the windshield. A spokesman for the diocese explained that the protestors likely confused the pilgrimage bus for one bound for Paris for a Manif pour Tous demonstration. This was the second time in a few months that a pilgrimage bus was attacked after being mistaken for a Manif pour Tous bus.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Insult or Incitement

Statue of Virgin Mary and Roadside Crucifix Destroyed in Southern Poland

January 17, 2020, Poland

Between January 16th and 18th, unidentified perpetrators destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary in a church in Ściegny and then in Wojanów, a roadside crucifix and figures of angels standing around the cross were destroyed beyond repair.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Theft of Brass Stations of the Cross in Gelsenkirchen

January 17, 2020, Germany

Unknown Perpetrators stole a brass relief of the stations of the cross that is part of a 14 piece series, from the church of St. Joseph Scholven.

Theft

French Satirist and Radio Station Apologized to LGBT Community, Not Christians

January 15, 2020, France

After a strong backlash against the France Inter radio station for airing of a song "Jésus est pédé" (an offensive pejorative for male homosexual), performed and written by Frédéric Fromet, both the singer and the station apologized to the LGBT community, despite the majority of complaints coming from Christian listeners.

Insult or Incitement

Defense Lawyer Wants "Devout" Catholics Excluded from Euthanasia Trial

January 14, 2020, Belgium

Defense counsel for one of the three doctors on trial for unlawfully poisoning an autistic woman via euthanasia has admitted to searching the social media profiles of potential jurors to exclude "devout" Catholics. Walter Van Steenbrugge said he would be a "bad lawyer" if he did not exclude people who were "extremely Catholic," for example if they expressed a Marian devotion or had previously expressed the opinion that euthanasia is murder.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

Man Arrested for Vandalism of Launaguet Church

January 14, 2020, France

A 25-year-old man was arrested on January 14th for his participation in the vandalism of a Catholic church in Launaguet. According to reports, the Saint-Barthélemy church (Toulouse diocese) had been vandalized with Quaranic inscriptions in previous months.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Unknown Individuals Repeatedly Urinate in Church Holy Water

January 14, 2020, Switzerland

Just before Christmas, the Catholic Church Guthirt in Aarburg was forced to withdraw access to holy water in its basins following repeated acts of urination into the water. The deacon, Markus Stohldreier, expressed shock and disappointment at repeated attacks against the parish community."In my 36 years as a theologian, I have never experienced anything comparable." He added, "The perpetrators must have urinated in holy water in broad daylight," because the church is closed at night to prevent vandalism.

Freedom of Religion Hate Incident Vandalism (form of hate crime)

12-Year-Old Boy Attacked at Paris School for Wearing Cross

January 14, 2020, France

On January 14th, at the collège Marx-Dormoy, in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, a 12-year-old boy of Serbian origin was brutally attacked for not removing a chain necklace on which a cross hung under his clothes. The website Svi Sribi u Parizu (All Serbs in Paris) reported that the alleged attackers were five other 11-year-old pupils. When he refused to remove it, the alleged attackers surrounded him. One of the boys pushed him to the ground, and all of them started kicking him. The boy was beaten all over his body, resulting in serious injuries to his face and genitals. The attack ended when other pupils screamed for help.

Hate Crime

Catholic Speaker Cancelled at Irish Schools

January 12, 2020, Ireland

Four talks by US Catholic speaker Jason Evert were cancelled due to pressure by campus LGBT groups and media reports referring to the well-known chastity speaker as "homophobic and anti-contraceptive." Presentations at two Dublin colleges, a Catholic conference called ‘Ignite 2020,’ and a talk at hotel were cancelled. According to reports, the University College Dublin LGBT Society called on the university authorities to stop Mr Evert from speaking, saying in a statement that his proposed visit to the university was “putting the safety of UCD’s LGBTQ+ community at risk” and his words could have “lasting and damaging effects on the mental wellbeing of LGHBTQ+ students.”

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Man Disrupted Three Church Services; Shouted Threats and "Allahu Akbar"

January 12, 2020, Germany

On the morning of January 12, a 33-year-old man from Rhauderfehn with Ivorian nationality disrupted services in three churches in Rhauderfehn and Ostrhauderfehn by shouting and threatening the worshippers.

Insult or Incitement

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)