All cases

Church in Altavista Vandalised

April 20, 2011, Spain

Father-Claret Parish, located in Altavista (Lanzarote), was vandalised by burglars. According to the media, the criminals broke into the church searching for money. Once they realised no money was there, they vandalised the property, causing significant damage. Before they left, they threw away the vase containing the holy communion.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Court Interferes in Church Self-Administration in Hiring Decision

April 20, 2011, Spain

The Spanish Constitutional Tribunal ruled that Catechism teacher Resurrección Galera Navarro whose working contract was not renewed after marrying a divorced man and not informing her employer, she was dismissed unlawfully. Employer Ferrer Guardia Catholic School in Almeria was sentenced to pay compensation. Acknowledging the human dimension of this incident, it is in any case necessary that religious institutions are able to establish their own rules and ethos.

Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws

Medical Doctor Denied the Right to Conscientious Objection by Court

April 19, 2011, Spain

A Spanish general practitioner from Antequera who opposes abortion was denied the right to claim conscientious objection in cases of abortion. The MD argues that his beliefs conflict with abortion advice or referral to women seeking pregnancy termination.

Freedom of Conscience

Fire Set to Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

April 19, 2011, Spain

On April 19, 2011 hundred of tourists were evacuated from one of the most popular places of worship in the world, the Sagrada Familia Basilica, in Barcelona. A fire was intentionally started at the sacristy, and a 65 year old man was arrested in possession of a lighter and pieces of fabrics that could have been used to set the fire. No major damage was reported to Gaudi´s masterpiece. The fire burnt for about 45 minutes according to El Pais newspaper. While the fire was set up intentionally, the reasons for the attack remain unknown. Media reported the man to be “gravely disturbed”. It is clear whether the fire setting was an intentional attack against Christianit or not.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church Vandalised at Aulnay-Sous-Bois

April 18, 2011, France

The church of Saint-Jean of Aulnay-Sous-Bois has been twice vandalised in April. The parish priest and the numerous catholic community are chocked before such acts.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism in Christian Cemetery of Zavidovici

April 17, 2011, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Christian graves and tombstones were vandalized in Zavidovici on April 17th, 2011.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Profane Painting Displayed at the Beginning of the Holy Week

April 15, 2011, Spain

As part of the Casus Belli art exhibition, the painting "Cristo das Rías Baixas" attributed to Manuel Moldes, has been displayed on one of the walls in Santiago de Compostela. The mural size artwork shows a crucified body, up side down, and totally naked. The exhibition is supported by the City Mayor of Compostela, while the city celebrates the 800th anniversary of the Cathedral and the beginning of the Holy Week. The Archdioceses of Santiago expressed its disappointment because the painting offends the religious sentiments.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Advertisement Campaign Displays the Holy Eucharist to Promote Condom Use

April 14, 2011, Spain

A media campaign to raise awareness on HIV uses the Holy Eucharist, a priest, and excerpt from mass to promote the use of condoms. Displaying an image of a priest giving communion, the add employs phrases like “Holy condom you take away the AIDS of the world.” Another phrase used in this add is: “Do not be given communion (Hostia), use a condom”. The word Hostia means communion in Spanish, but hostia can also be used with a pejorative meaning in Spanish.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Assault on the Church of Santa Maria Magdalena de Ciempozuelos (Madrid)

April 14, 2011, Spain

On a Thursday morning a group of vandals broke into the Church of Santa Maria Magdalena, destroying the altar shrine and the crown of the Virgin. The church suffered great damage, and the content of the collection box was stolen.

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

Vandalism at Nathan-Söderblom Church in Reinbek

April 14, 2011, Germany

A gang of about 20 youth has been rampaging repeatedly around the Nathan-Söderblom church in Reinbek in the spring of 2011, including the urination into a work of art that represents the grave of Christ. Police and social service have not been able to calm down those involved, and are considering to hire a social worker to find a remedy.

Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Film Trailer Displays A Gay Christ

April 13, 2011, Spain

“The Pink Wall”, a film by Enrique del Pozo and Julian Lara, depicts the situation of gays during Franco´s era in Spain and presents Christ crucified to a pink wall, made up with eye shadow and lipstick, wrapped in a gay flag around his hips. At the top of the cross the letters “INRI” have been replaced with “LGTB” (lesbian, gay, transsexual and bisexual). The film was presented on April 13th, 2011 in Madrid.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Belgian Archbishop Hit in Face with Cream Pies

April 6, 2011, Belgium

The head of Belgium's Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, was hit four times by custard pies at the Catholic University of Louvain while people were cheering.

Hate Crime Hate Incident Insult or Incitement

Atheists Announce Public Campaign Against Catholics

April 5, 2011, Spain

In a broadcasting interview by ELA radio, in Madrid, a group of people who identified themselves as “representatives of different atheist groups”, expressed openly that their goals are to “punish” the Catholic belief, and to “damage” the views of Catholics. They praised the burning of churches in 1936, and they expressed their intention to “welcome” the Pope “as he deserves”, during the announced visit to Madrid in the summer of 2011.

Defamation Hate Crime Insult or Incitement Negative Stereotyping

Atheist Procession on Holy Thursday

April 5, 2011, Spain

A neighbour organization of Madrid's ambassadors’ district (Barrio de los Embajadores) and surrounding areas called for an “atheist procession”. The procession is scheduled to take place on the night of Holy Thursday departing from Plaza de Lavapies (wash feet square), and it will run parallel to the Way of the Cross, the Christian procession. According to the organizers’ web site – Atheists from Madrid (Ateos de Madrid) - the procession goal is to raise awareness against the "social and moral hypocrisy that conveys the Catholic Holy Week”.

Insult or Incitement Negative Stereotyping

Church Tagged in Vannes

April 4, 2011, France

Four young men attacked the church Saint-Pie-X in Vannes, insulting believers and claiming to denounce «fundamentalism». They underlined the «political» nature of their behavior and claimed to defend «anti-clerical values».

Insult or Incitement Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Teacher Regularly Mocked Christianity in Class

April 2, 2011, Austria

A secondary grammar school teacher in Innsbruck regularly mocks and denounces Christian faith in class. The supervisory school authority has now reprimanded him.

Defamation Insult or Incitement Negative Stereotyping Rights of Parents

Teacher Dismissed for Showing a Film About Abortion

March 31, 2011, France

A French history teacher was permanently dismissed for showing his students a video on abortion and talking about French abortion law.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

German Mother Jailed for Refusing Government Sex-Ed

March 31, 2011, Germany

Irene Wiens, mother of twelve, served a 43-day jail sentence in Germany for refusing to enroll her children in sex-ed classes, deemed by her husband and herself to teach a permissive view of human sexuality. An appeal to the European Court of Human Rights has been filed.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion Rights of Parents

iPhone Christian Applications Removed

March 31, 2011, International

Apple suppresses diversity of belief by shutting down two Christian iPhone applications claiming that the were “offensive to large groups of people”, and the support of traditional marriage, family, and life “expose[d] a group to harm” and delivered “hate speech”.

Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws

300 Academic Signatures in Support of Removing Chapels from Campuses

March 31, 2011, Spain

Professors and authorities of several Spanish public universities have signed a document supporting the anti-chapel students´ movement. After a violent incident took place at Somosaguas Chapel located on Computense University campus, in Madrid, the professors affirmed in the document that "the presence of chapels and other symbols of religion power has no relation with the freedom of religion but with a Catholic Church privilege; and the time to end such [privileges] has arrived".

Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols