All cases

Anarchist Group Targeted Church with Explosive Device in Athens

December 28, 2018, Greece

On December 28th, a police officer and the church caretaker were injured when a small explosive device went off outside the Church of St. Dionysios in the Kolonaki neighborhood of Athens shortly before the Divine Liturgy was scheduled to begin. On January 19th, the anarchist group "the Iconoclastic Sect" claimed responsibility for the attack.

Hate Crime

Burglaries in Two Churches in Freren Cause Property Damage of 9,000 Euros

December 28, 2018, Germany

Unknown perpetrators broke into a Catholic church and an Evangelical church in Freren, stealing small amounts of money from donation boxes, but causing about 9,000 euros in damage.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Monks Brutally Attacked during Robbery

December 27, 2018, Austria

Six monks were attacked, gagged, and bound during the course of a robbery at the monastery of Maria Immaculata in Vienna on December 27th. Several of the victims were seriously injured and police began a large-scale investigation.

Hate Crime Theft

Man Arrested for Destruction in Church

December 22, 2018, Germany

A 19-year-old man was arrested after causing severe damage to the Apostelkirche in Kaiserslautern on the night of December 22nd. The accused destroyed three glass windows and sprayed the contents of a fire extinguisher in the church. When the police attempted to calm the man, he threatened the officers.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Fire and Vandalism in Trier Abbey and Church

December 18, 2018, Germany

Intruders entered the Benedictine abbey of St. Matthias through a window during the night of December 18th and ransacked several rooms and the adjacent church, breaking sacred objects, overturning furniture, and setting fire to songbooks and other papers. Police estimated the damage to be in the thousands of euros.

Hate Crime Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Strasbourg Christmas Market Shooting Declared Terrorism

December 11, 2018, France

Prosecutors announced that the attack on a busy Strasbourg Christmas market was an act of terrorism, committed by an Islamist extremist who had previously pledged alliance to ISIL. During the attack, the suspect shouted "Allahu Akbar." Security experts have said that the Christmas market was likely targeted both because it was crowded and its connection to Christianity and Christian symbolism. In response to the deadly attack, other Christmas markets across France implemented extra security measures.

Hate Crime

Shopping Mall Refused to Display Nativity but Advertised Christmas Market

December 5, 2018, United Kingdom

The Thistles Shopping Centre in Stirling, Scotland refused requests from the Legion of St. Mary's Association to display a nativity scene in the mall, saying they "pride themselves on religious neutrality." Despite this official position, the mall heavily advertised a "Christmas Market."

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

UK Home Office Admits Reason for Underrepresentation of Christian Refugees

December 5, 2018, United Kingdom

Christian refugees from the Middle East are widely underrepresented in the United Kingdom. In 2017, 4,832 Syrians were accepted to the UK, however, only 11 were Christians. The Home Office has acknowledged that Christian refugees in the Middle East are “reluctant” to enter the UNHCR refugee camp system, but refuses to state this is because of persecution.

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

French Mayor Fights State Over Nativity Scene

December 4, 2018, France

For the second year in a row, Mayor Robert Ménard, former journalist for Reporters Without Borders, installed a nativity scene in the courtyard of the town hall of Béziers. The French government filed a complaint for its removal in the administrative court, claiming the installation violated the law of 1905 on the separation of Church and State.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Doctors Claim their Concerns about Abortion Legislation in Ireland Not Taken Seriously

December 3, 2018, Ireland

Dozens of its members stormed out of the "Extraordinary General Meeting" of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) concerning the Irish abortion bill on December 2nd. The members protested that their concerns and objections were not taken seriously and the ICGP “refused to accept members’ motions from the floor.” The spokesperson for the group of approximately 80 doctors, Dr Andrew O'Regan, told the media: "We feel disrespected and not listened to by our own college board."

Freedom of Conscience

Church Cellar Deliberately Flooded by Vandals

December 2, 2018, Germany

During an advent concert in the parish church of Claußnitz on Sunday, December 2, unknown people turned on a faucet in the boiler room and flooded the cellar with it. "The boiler was totally under water," said Pastor Christian Schmidt. When the damage was discovered, the fire brigade and police were alerted. Two firefighters pumped the approximately 60 centimeters high water out of the basement. The police estimated the damage to be several thousand euros.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Protests Against Polish Radio Maryja on its Anniversary

December 1, 2018, Poland

As Radio Maryja listeners gathered in Toruń to celebrate the radio station's 27th anniversary, a protest against public funding of the station took place a few kilometers away. Organized by a Polish secularist association, a small group protested at the monument of Nicolaus Copernicus.

Statue of Saint Anne Decapitated in Ille-et-Vilaine

December 1, 2018, France

A statuette of St. Anne with the Virgin Mary in a niche above a first floor window of a private home was removed and beheaded by an unknown vandal during the night of December 1st. The head was placed in front of the doorway of the home.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Anti-Discrimination Law Expanded in Switzerland

November 28, 2018, Switzerland

The Swiss Ständerat (Council of States) passed a law on November 28th adding discrimination based on sexual orientation to the existing criminal law prohibiting discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or religion. A broader version of the legislation, which included "gender identity" was passed by the Nationalrat (National Council) in October. Critics of the law noted that it could restrict freedom of expression and conscience, particularly for those who hold a traditional view of sexuality and marriage. Those who violate the law could face a prison sentence of up to three years.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Militant Equality Laws

Vulgar Graffiti Sprayed On The Facade Of Church

November 28, 2018, Spain

The parish of San Isidro de la Estación in Cártama, as well as the entrances to the parish hall and the office of Caritas, were spray painted with obscene images and phrases during the night of November 28th. The graffiti outraged the whole town and local police began an official investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Pro-Life Student Group Banned at University in Scotland

November 27, 2018, United Kingdom

The Aberdeen University Students' Association (Ausa) prevented the affiliation of the Aberdeen Life Ethics Society, a pro-life student group. This means that the group would not be recognized as an official club of the University and thus would not be eligible to receive any funding for their events. The Ausa has an explicit pro-choice policy supporting "free, safe and legal access to abortion." The Life Ethics Society challenged the ban and accused the Ausa of censorship.

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

22 Statues on the Avenue of Saints Destroyed

November 25, 2018, Poland

Just three weeks after the the new "Avenue of Saints" in front of the Matki Bożej Śnieżnej Church in Zarzecze was unveiled, 22 of the 23 statues were broken by vandals on November 25th. Only the figure of St. Paul was unharmed. The figures in the Avenue of Saints were dedicated on November 11th on the 100th anniversary of regaining independence by Poland "as an expression of gratitude and an invitation to the saints to our future and our nation," said parish priest Jan Rokosz. 

Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

"The Mafia never loses" - Ancient Church Vandalized with Graffiti

November 25, 2018, Italy

"The Mafia never loses" (“La mafia non perde mai”) and other graffiti were discovered by the volunteers of the "San Cataldo Baia della Legalità" association in an ancient church by the bay in Terrasini.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Historic Cornwall Church the Target of Arson

November 24, 2018, United Kingdom

Firefighters were called to St Mary’s Church in Penzance at around 4am in the early hours of November 24th by the key holder and his wife after the alarm sounded. A bin had been placed in front of the church door and set on fire. Witnesses reported that the fire nearly spread into the interior of the church. Police were given the CCTV footage and began an investigation. Damages are estimated at up to £10,000. 

Hate Crime Hate Incident Vandalism (form of hate crime)

After Repeated Vandalism: Church Forced To Close Its Doors

November 24, 2018, Germany

The Stadtkirche St. Georg in Neustadt was the target of vandalism during the night of the 24th of November. The Christmas tree and the loudspeaker system and cable covers on the wall were heavily damaged from having been kicked. In addition, the church was soiled with spilled red wine and cigarette butts. A week before, intruders caused damage in the church, as well. Although an an automatic locking system was installed, due to the vandalism, the church council decided to keep the church locked during the day.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Pro-Lifers Banned as University Group

November 22, 2018, United Kingdom

The group "Glasgow Students for Life" were banned from becoming an official group by the Student' Representative Council (SRC) at Glasgow University. As a result, the student group would not have access to funding, meeting rooms, or a stall at the freshers fair. The president of the SRC said the decision had been made because the aims of the society did not align with the values of the council. "Given the SRC’s campaigning on a number of related social issues over the years, including support for the recent Repeal the 8th campaign in Ireland, it would be contrary to our ethos to endorse a society which calls for limited rights for women."

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Arson in Funeral Chapel

November 21, 2018, Germany

Unknown persons set fire to two benches in the altar room of the funeral chapel in Treysa on November 21st. The benches in the interior of the church were set on fire with paper waste and presumably fire accelerators. The fire caused considerable soot damage, but the building remained intact. The damage was estimated at 500 euros.

Hate Crime Hate Incident Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Parents Threaten Action against School that Required Children to Participate in Gay Pride Parade

November 20, 2018, United Kingdom

In November, several parents of children who were required to participate in a "Proud to be me" pride parade at the Heavers Farm Primary School in South East London threatened legal action. Despite numerous complaints from parents, they were informed that no opt-outs would be allowed. Parents, including Izoduwa Adhedo, reported that they were treated dismissively and victimized following their complaints. "I wasn't even trying to stop the Pride event. I just wanted my child to receive an education, rather than indoctrination," Adhedo said.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion Rights of Parents

War Memorial and Church Defaced in Scotland

November 17, 2018, United Kingdom

A church and war memorial were hit by vandals sometime on the 17th of November in Coatbridge. The graffiti included Republican slogans like "RIRA" (Real Irish Republican Army). The incident happened just a week after Armistice Day - the day the Allies and Germany signed the peace treaty ending the First World War.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Persistent Littering and Vandalism in front of Cosenza Church

November 17, 2018, Italy

For years, the piazza and steps in front of the church of Santa Teresa in Cosenza have been littered with bottles, glasses, vomit and urine by young people who congregate there in the evenings and on weekends. However, as parishioners stepped past all of the litter and excrement to attend Mass on the weekend of November 17th, they discovered the steps to the church were defaced with graffiti.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Miniature Model of Church Destroyed and Offertory Box Looted

November 15, 2018, Germany

A wooden model of the small parish church in Bräunlingen was returned to its place next to the church altar after the damage caused by vandals had been repaired. A few days later, it was hit again by vandalism. The bottom plate of the model was forcibly torn open, the wood was shattered in the back, and part of the electronics were exposed. The offertory box on which the small church stands was looted, leaving only a few coins. Additionally the smaller of the two church towers, which was completely replaced in the past repair, was damaged again.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Prosecutors Believe Hague Stabbing in May Targeted Christians and Jews

November 14, 2018, Netherlands

New information from the prosecutor's office indicates that Malek F., a Syrian asylum seeker charged with 3 counts of attempted murder for stabbings in The Hague on May 5, 2018, was specifically searching for “Christian and Jewish kuffars," Arabic for non-believers. In a recorded conversation with his mother from prison, he said they were similar to “animals or retarded people” and that he was a "soldier of Allah."

Hate Crime

Evangelical Church Vandalized

November 14, 2018, Germany

The Evangelical church of St. Simeonis in Minden was vandalized during the night on the 11th of November when unknown persons sprayed the southern church door and a wall with graffiti. In 2017, a precious 19th century window was destroyed.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Theft and Desecration of Madrid Church

November 13, 2018, Spain

On the 13th of November intruders broke into the church of Nuestra Señora de Madrid, desecrated the tabernacle, stole a ciborium, a small monstrance, and other objects from the parish office. The Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, Carlos Osoro, expressed his pain, his prayers, and his condemnation for this desecration to the whole parish community and will soon hold an act of reparation in the church. The police began an investigation.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Thousands of Euros in Damage Caused by Rocks Thrown at Church Windows

November 13, 2018, Germany

On four afternoons in a row, between November 13th and November 17th, unknown perpetrators threw rocks at the stained glass windows of the church of St. Stephanus in Grevenbroich-Elsen. "In total there are 27 holes up to a diameter of ten centimeters and cracks [in the windows]," according to Gerd Reibel, Deputy Chairman of the Church Council. "We estimate the total amount of the damage to be between 3,000 and 4,000 euros," he said. The parish filed a police complaint.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

British Government Denies Asia Bibi Asylum for Fear of Community Unrest

November 9, 2018, United Kingdom

Asia Bibi, who spent eight years on death row in Pakistan, was released from prison after the Supreme Court of Pakistan overturned her sentence for “insulting the Prophet Mohammed.” Her acquittal led to unrest and riots among Pakistan's Muslim hardliners, prompting the government to try to prevent her from leaving the country. Her husband, Ashiq Masih, pleaded to the UK government: “I am requesting the Prime Minister of the UK help us and as far as possible grant us freedom.” The British government reportedly rejected this request for fear of civil unrest.

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

Church Door Set on Fire

November 9, 2018, Spain

On the 9th of November the door of the parish church in Llamas de la Ribera was set on fire, causing severe damage. Police arrested the perpetrator.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Arson in Church; Heavy Damage to Renovated Organ

November 7, 2018, Germany

Police determined that a fire set to an organ in the St Franziskus Church in Gummersbach was intentional. The damage done to the organ was estimated to be in the six-figure range. Due to the rapid intervention of the fire department, greater damage was prevented. "Perhaps the whole church could have gone up in flames if the fire had not been discovered so quickly," noted Father Christoph Bersch.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism in the Church of Sainte Croix

November 7, 2018, France

A press release of the parish of Port de Bordeaux reported that there were “more then 40 chairs crumbled to pieces, tables and displays thrown over” in the 11th century church of Sainte Croix. Debout France – a local federation – published information about this incident on its Twitter expressing regret saying: “vandalism (…) is more and more frequent within our church.”

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Historic Forest Church in Badia Tedalda Heavily Damaged by Vandalism

November 6, 2018, Italy

Several stained glass windows of the Lama Church were broken by rocks and the door was smashed by an axe. The damage was estimated at several thousand euros.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism at Wallyford Church

November 5, 2018, United Kingdom

East Lothian (Scotland) Police investigated a case of vandalism at the Wallyford Livingroom Church. Vandals smashed a window by throwing stones.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism to Parish Church

November 4, 2018, Germany

Sometime between November 4th and 7th, unknown perpetrators smashed in a window at the St. Walburgis Church in Menzelen-Ost. The damage was discovered by church staff on the evening of November 7th. The perpetrators threw an object into a glass window with lead glazing with an unknown object.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Parish Church Vandalized

November 2, 2018, Germany

Police reported that two teenagers are suspected of having caused at least €3,000 in damage to the Reichertshausen parish church St. Stephanus between August 31st and September 13th. Many statues were damaged: the wing of a dove (representing the holy spirit) was broken, the statue of John the Baptist was damaged, and the head of a statue on the altar was broken off. A foul smelling and foamy liquid was poured into the holy water. The sacristan who discovered all of this damage also found remainders of ashes and crumbs, spilled beverages, a burned prayer book, and the note “F… dich Gott” (“F… you God”) in a book for prayer requests. 

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Desecration of Church in French Guiana

November 2, 2018, France

One or more unknown individuals broke into the church du Bon Pasteur and ransacked everything. The table of the altar was broken, furniture was knocked over, video material disappeared, the locks to the sacristy were broken, and consecrated hosts were emptied from the tabernacle. The parish priest and the church community were shocked and dismayed. An investigation was opened.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Offensive Graffiti and Vandalism in Church

November 2, 2018, Germany

Unknown perpetrators sprayed three walls and a prayer bench with offensive graffiti in the St. Benedikt-Kirche in Herbern. The local police spokesperson referred to the act as "antisocial behavior" and suspected "marauding teenagers" committed the vandalism sometime between 11 am and 5 pm on November 2nd.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Shocking Graffiti on Pietà

November 1, 2018, Germany

During the night before All Saints Day, the Pietà in front of the parish church St. Georg in Freising was defaced with black graffiti and vulgar sexual images. Just two weeks earlier, church painter Florian Böck had finished restoring the statue of the Mary, Mother of Sorrows (Mater Dolorosa), holding the corpse of Jesus Christ taken from the cross. Böck expressed his anger: “We really need to ask ourselves, who could do something like this?” and said it would be a long process to clean the statue and bring it to the previous status. The damage to the statue which dates back to 1640 was estimated by the police at around 3000 euros.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Over 100 Windows Smashed at Church in Ireland

October 31, 2018, Ireland

Sometime between the 29th and 31st of October, unknown perpetrators broke 104 windows at St Catherine’s Church in Tullamore. The police are investigating, and cannot exclude a targeted crime although the motive remains unclear. Parishioners expect up to €70,000 will be needed to renew the windows and enhance security.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Obscene Vandalism on Salerno Church

October 31, 2018, Italy

Vandals sprayed a phallic symbol in foam next to the Madonna on the bronze door of the church of Santa Maria a Mare a Mercatello. The priest, who called the act disrespectful and offensive, reported that this was not the first instance of vandalism, as the churchyard is a frequent target of vandals. Both the priest and the parishioners were upset and discussed closing the churchyard and installing security cameras in the area.

Insult or Incitement Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Three Windows of Village Church Destroyed

October 30, 2018, Germany

Unknown perpetrators smashed three stained glass windows with stones between the 28th and 30th of October. The Hamminkeln police began an investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christian Group Ordered to Pay for Extra Security at Oxford Event

October 29, 2018, United Kingdom

Oxford students voted to ban Christian Concern from hosting its Wilberforce Academy residential conference at Lady Margaret Hall, calling the group a “real threat to the physical and mental safety of students.” The college, however, said it would permit the group to use its facilities provided that it paid for extra security. A college spokesperson said that Christian Concern's "opposition to abortion, Islam and LGBTQ+" rights would lead to protests so it needed to pay "additional security costs."

Contractual Freedom Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression Negative Stereotyping

"Rainbow Friday" May Violate Polish Constitution and Education Law

October 26, 2018, Poland

For the third year in a row, more than 200 schools across Poland participated in "Rainbow Friday," a campaign to celebrate and promote acceptance of LGBT issues. The Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture examined whether such an addition to the school curriculum violated the education law and interfered with the constitutionally protected rights of parents to direct the education of their children. It encouraged parents who objected to their children's participation in the program to inform the schools of their wishes, and to report violations if their children are compelled to attend.

Rights of Parents

Repeated Incidents of Vandalism at Santiago de Compostela Church

October 24, 2018, Spain

At night, the church of Santa Susana in Santiago de Compostela is reportedly frequented by young people who use the dimly lit corners of the church as urinals. Additionally nearly all the windows have been smashed in and graffiti covers the exterior of the church.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Scottish Campaign calls Believers 'Bigots'

October 22, 2018, United Kingdom

An anti-hate crime campaign One Scotland, launched in September 2018 by the Scottish police and government, includes a poster directed toward religious believers which reads (in part), “Dear Bigots, you can’t spread your religious hatred here. End of sermon. Yours, Scotland.” Other posters in the campaign were directed toward 'transphobes' and 'homophobes.' Critics of the campaign have noted that it singles out religious believers and calls them bigots without any qualification, and it is based on a political ideology which discriminates against those who hold traditional views.

Equality Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Negative Stereotyping

Second Church Arson in a Month in Heroldsbach

October 21, 2018, Germany

For the second time in a month, a fire was set in the St. Michael church in Heroldsbach. A witness noticed the fire around 5:45pm on Sunday, the 21st of October and called the authorities. The fire brigade was able to quickly extinguish the fire and prevent further damage. An intentional fire had been set in the same church on September 16th. The criminal police of Bamberg continued the investigation into both fires and continued to seek witnesses.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Burglars in Church Vandalized Sacristy

October 21, 2018, France

Unidentified perpetrators broke into Saint-Antoine-l'Ermite church, forced open the tabernacle, and threw the ciborium containing consecrated hosts on the ground. The sacristy was vandalized, but the intruders failed to open the safe.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church the Victim of Theft and Vandalism

October 19, 2018, United Kingdom

Several incidents of theft and vandalism took place at the Church of St. Thomas and St. John in Radcliffe. Lead from the roof and railings from the disabled access ramp were stolen and the stonework on the ramp was hammered. Ropes installed to replace the railings were then cut. Garbage and waste was repeatedly dumped on the church property.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church in Yvelines Desecrated

October 16, 2018, France

Police were called to the church of Sainte-Julitte de Saint-Cyr-l'Ecole after feces, urine, and a cigarette butt were discovered at the foot of the altar. A police investigation was opened and a complaint will be filed.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Man Set Fire to Wooden Church Door

October 13, 2018, Spain

The National Police of Gran Canaria arrested a 52-year-old man who intentionally set fire to several points on the wooden door of the parish church of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The fire was discovered on the 13th of October at around 11:30 p.m. and the police were called. They were able to contain the flames until the arrival of the fire brigade.

Repeated Acts of Vandalism Forces Church to Limit Opening Hours

October 11, 2018, Ireland

Three incidents within two weeks hit the Church of Ireland Christchurch in Buncrana, County Donegal. As well as the burning of Mass leaflets, a Bible was written on, cigarettes were stubbed out on the carpet, eggs were thrown, and flowers were strewn on the floor. The church, which was open throughout the day, was used as a place of prayer by many people. However, the decision was made to close the church outside service times until security was reviewed.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Statues of Saints and the Virgin Mary Smashed, Decapitated, and Stolen in Ticino

October 10, 2018, Switzerland

Since Easter, there have been eight attacks against statues of female saints and the Virgin Mary in the southern canton of Ticino.

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

Rifle Fire Damaged Stained Glass Windows of Church

October 8, 2018, France

Mayor René Beausoleil announced at a city council meeting that he had filed a complaint with the gendarmerie after "23 impacts of rifle fire" damaged several stained glass windows in the church of Saint-Laurent in Montfaucon-d’Argonne. The damage was estimated at €16,700. The police are investigating.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Dog Excrement left at Church Altar

October 8, 2018, Germany

Sometime between 11 am and 6 pm on October 8th, unknown perpetrators entered a church in Eichendorf, opened a holy water container and moved several crosses from the wall onto the floor. In addition, dog waste was deposited on the altar carpet. The damage was estimated €300.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Cross Torn Down in Lesvos

October 7, 2018, Greece

A huge cement cross erected over a beach in honor of people who have drowned there was torn down by unknown perpetrators during the night of October 7th. The NGO "Coexistence and Communication in the Aegean" had previously called the cross "offensive" to non-Christian migrants, a symbol of "racism and intolerance," and claimed that it had been placed above the beach to prevent refugees and migrants from swimming there. Local residents reacted with dismay and discussed re-building it.

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

Huge Metal Cross Torn Down

October 7, 2018, Germany

Vandals tore down a huge 30 kilo metal memorial cross from the cemetery next to the pilgrimage church in Marienbaum. Father Jeremias Kehren, pastor of the church, expressed the shock of the community and called it an attack on the cemetery and those who mourn there: "The wickedness with which this memorial was desecrated leaves us speechless."

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Bremen Cathedral Tagged with Hammer & Sickle; "Anti-Imperialism" Graffiti

October 4, 2018, Germany

During the night of October 4th, unknown vandals sprayed "Tot dem deutschen Imperialismus" (Death to German imperialism") and a hammer and sickle symbol in red paint on the Bremen Cathedral. The Otto von Bismarck monument was also hit with red tags. Bremen police began an investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Anti-Abortion GPs Argue Against Being Forced to Refer Patients

October 3, 2018, Ireland

A draft of abortion legislation provided that doctors, nurses, and midwives who have a conscientious objection to abortion must refer their patients to another provider who will perform the abortion. The National Association of GPs (NAGP) voted to "advocate for conscientious objection, without obligation to refer" and for an "opt-in" system, where medical professionals register their willingness to perform the procedure, rather than an "opt-out system.

Freedom of Conscience

Diocese of Osma-Soria Reported Two Churches Damaged and Robbed in 15 Days

October 2, 2018, Spain

The Diocese of Osma-Soria reported on October 2nd that the church of San Esteban in the town of Masegoso was vandalized, but nothing was stolen. In Soria on September 22nd, thieves entered the hermitage of the Virgin of Ulagares and stole the money donated by the faithful, as well as religious objects of low value and some construction tools. The civil guard began an investigation.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Elderly Priest Injured by Two Young Men

October 1, 2018, France

On September 26, 2018 an 81-year-old priest was assaulted by two homeless men he sheltered in his home in Denain. The priest was awakened by noise at around 2:00 in the morning and discovered the men trying to steal his television. The men, who the priest had been sheltering and feeding for a few days, attacked him, threatened him with a kitchen knife, and tied him to his bed. After he shouted, the perpetrators fled but were soon identified and captured by the police. On October 1st, they were each sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

Hate Crime Theft

Church Vandalized with Satanic Slogans

September 29, 2018, Germany

The evangelical Schlosskirche in Winnenden was hit with graffiti between the 29th and 30th of October. The entire west side exterior of the 14th century church was sprayed with slogans like "Satan 666," "666 an die Macht" (666 to the power) and "stay high." The pastor said a special process would be required to remove the paint from the sandstone walls.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Abortion-Specific Conscience Clause Targeted by French Socialists

September 27, 2018, France

An attack on the freedom of conscience of doctors and medical staff was launched on the 27th of September in the French parliament by socialist senators including former Minster of Families Laurence Rossignol. They want to remove the specific conscience clause for doctors covering abortions, because it is already covered by the Public Health Code.

Freedom of Conscience

Second Suspected Arson Within 8 Days; Priest Threatened

September 26, 2018, Italy

Unknown perpetrators set the Santi Innocenti Martiri di Montesilvano Church on fire on September 26th. This was the second fire at the church within a week and was committed while investigations into the first fire were underway by the carabinieri and the fire brigade. The entire central nave was enveloped by the fire that traveled along the entire right side to the sacristy and the meeting room. Even the roof collapsed, making the supporting structure completely unusable, according to reports. "There are people who, despite our willingness to meet them, even publicly said they did not want the church. With today's gesture, the work was completed as if they wanted to finish what they had not been able to do last week," said Father Rinaldo, the parish priest. 

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Ravensburg Church Arsonist Sentenced

September 25, 2018, Germany

A 40-year-old unemployed man was sentenced to 7 years in prison on September 25, 2018 for the arson of two churches, St. Jodok in Ravensburg and St. Martin in Schlier. The incidents occurred in March 2018, which we reported at the time. The fire at St. Jodok church in Ravensburg caused at least two million euros in damage.

Spanish Mayor Disguised Himself as Priest to Perform Civil Wedding

September 23, 2018, Spain

The mayor of Ayna (Albacete), Emiliano Rodríguez, disguised himself as a priest to perform a civil wedding ceremony in the town of Castilla-La Mancha. He wore a cassock with a large cross hanging around his neck and carried a small book like a bible in his hands. While the socialist mayor claimed it was a private event not intended to offend anyone, the stunt was widely criticized. The parish priest of Albacete wrote on social media, "As a priest I protest vigorously. Please respect my faith." (Como sacerdote protesto enérgicamente. Por favor, respete mi Fe).

Insult or Incitement

Historic Church Destroyed by Arson - Suspect Arrested

September 23, 2018, Finland

Only ruins were left of the Kiihtelysvaara Lutheran Church after a 29-year-old set fire to one of Finland's oldest wooden churches in Joensuu. The arson was discovered in the morning of the 23rd of September.

Hate Crime

Summit Cross Vandalized

September 22, 2018, France

The summit cross on Garlaban hill, loved by the Aubanais people and symbol of the city, was covered with red paint.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Finnish Foreign Minister Faced No-Confidence Vote over Pro-Life Views

September 21, 2018, Finland

Members of the Finnish Parliament voted 100–60 against a motion of no confidence brought against Catholic Foreign Minister Timo Soini on September 21st. Four opposition parties, the Green League, Left Alliance, Social Democrats and Swedish People’s Party, brought a motion of no confidence over Soini's attendance at pro-life vigil while on an official trip to Canada in May.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Iron Door of Church Set on Fire with Flammable Liquids

September 20, 2018, Italy

A fire was set with flammable liquids at the iron entrance door of the church of Santa Domenica in Isola Capo Rizzuto on September 20th, causing blacking of the door and adjacent wall.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Explosion at Banquet Hall of Syrian Orthodox Church in Södertälje

September 19, 2018, Sweden

Police completed a forensic investigation of an explosion in an events hall owned by the St. Afrem Syrian Orthodox Church. The hall, rented from the church for events such as parties and wedding receptions, was empty at the time of the explosion. Police said the explosion was the result of a homemade incendiary device, but have not identified a perpetrator.

Hate Crime Hate Incident

War Memorial Damaged at Catholic Church

September 18, 2018, Germany

Police began an investigation of vandalism at the war memorial at a Catholic church in Bischofsdhron, a few days after a Way of the Cross was damaged nearby. Several stone slabs were knocked out of their foundation causing an estimated €400 in damage.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Assault on Priest and Attempted Robbery at Bulgarian Monastery

September 18, 2018, Bulgaria

Six masked men entered the medieval Rozhen Monastery at about 8:00 pm on September 18th. They assaulted and tied up the priest who was present and began digging into the wall behind the iconostasis in the monastery church with picks and spades. After about 30 minutes, they left the monastery without taking anything except the priest's mobile phone. The priest was reportedly unharmed but shaken by the incident. Security camera footage led to the arrest of some of the perpetrators.

Hate Crime Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Thousands of Pounds of Damage to Church Windows in Kenilworth

September 18, 2018, United Kingdom

An "identified suspect" damaged several windows with rocks at the St. Barnabas Church in Kenilworth on the 18th of September, causing thousands of pounds in damage.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Neuroscience Professor Investigated for Telling Students Men and Women are Biologically Different

September 17, 2018, Sweden

Germund Hesslow, a neurophysiology professor at Lund University, is under investigation for "anti-feminism" and "transphobia" for telling his students there are biological differences between men and women.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Arson in Bavarian Church

September 16, 2018, Germany

Early in the evening of September 16th, a witness noticed smoke coming from the St. Michael church in Heroldsbach and contacted the authorities. Police discovered burning scraps of paper and initial estimates amounted to at least 2,500 euros in damage. After a criminal investigation, officials concluded that the fire had been intentionally set and asked for assistance from any potential witnesses.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Fires Set in Kobern Church

September 16, 2018, Germany

The sacristan of St. Lubentius in Kobern discovered that several small fires had been intentionally set in the church. She observed that the altar cloth had been burned at the altar of the Virgin Mary, damaging both the cloth and the altar. A second altar and cloth, as well as the bible on the lectern, were similarly burned.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Perpetrator Confesses to Arson of Evangelical Church

September 15, 2018, Austria

A 58 year old man confessed to setting a fire that heavily damaged the Johanneskirche am Lendkanal on September 15th. The altar cross, a gift of British soldiers and of great sentimental value, was missing after the fire but later found near the church.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Pro-Life Charity Banned from Three UK Universities

September 14, 2018, United Kingdom

Student Unions in Manchester, Warwick, and Liverpool rejected the Life charity's application to appear at their Freshers' Fairs. The Warwick Students' Union rejected Life because its members "voted to adopt a pro-choice stance." Manchester said the Fair was an inappropriate platform, while Liverpool said the charity would not offer "impartial advice" to students. Life said its displays inform students that help is available if they get pregnant. The charity filed a complaint to the Office for Students (OfS) citing discrimination and restrictions on freedom of speech. It noted that the Chair of OfS had earlier promoted the protection of freedom of speech.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Unknown Vandals Damage Way of the Cross in Morbach

September 14, 2018, Germany

Unknown vandals damaged elements of a Way of the Cross leading to the Fatima Chapel in Bischofsdhron sometime between the 12th and 14th of September. They perpetrators pushed three of the thirteen sandstone crosses from their bases and tilted back into the adjacent embankment. The crosses themselves were unharmed, but the bases were heavily damaged. Repairs were estimated at €600. Police began an investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christian Sued Scouts after being Ousted over Islam Complaint; Settled Case

September 9, 2018, United Kingdom

A man from Bristol whose membership to the Scout Association was cancelled took legal action, claiming he has been discriminated against on account of his Christian faith.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

Fire in the Church of Santa Maria della Roccella

September 9, 2018, Italy

Police began an arson investigation after a fire broke out in a basement of the cloister of the Church of Santa Maria della Roccella. The flames affected some unused materials and various forms of waste that had piled up in a basement of the cloister. The fire brigade intervened and found four LPG tanks near the fire which they removed and secured promptly. Fortunately there was no damage done to the building and no one was hurt.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Burglars Hit Church in Lörrach

September 9, 2018, Germany

Police investigated a break-in between September 9th and 10th at the Protestant Church in Lörrach. Unknown perpetrators tried to pry open several doors, finally accessed the church building through an unlocked door. Inside they broke into the sacristy and a storage room, pried open two doors on the upper floor and ransacked several rooms.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Door of Church Burned in Santa Maria di Licodia

September 7, 2018, Italy

During the night between the 6th and 7th of September, the door of the church of Madonna del Carmelo was set on fire. In the early morning hours residents became aware of the fire and extinguished it. The police investigated and found that the fire was started by lighting paper and plastic. The perpetrators damaged the base of the door and blackened the upper part. Fortunately, the flames did not spread into the inside of the church. The priest filed a complaint.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Parish Church in Gutau Vandalized

September 7, 2018, Austria

Unknown perpetrators vandalized the facade of the parish church in Gutau with red and black paint sometime between 6 pm and 10:45 pm on September 7th.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

President of Czech Republic Sides with Communist Party on Taxation of Church Restitution

September 6, 2018, Czech Republic

The president of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, wavered from his neutral position and backed the communists and government coalition parties' plan to tax outstanding restitution payments to churches and religious communities whose property had been confiscated during the communist regime. In a TV interview he said is was "angry" to some extent because church institutions have continued to demand compensation and filed complaints against municipalities despite the decisions that were made in the 2013 restitution laws.

Access to Justice and Legal Services

Chester Cathedral Damaged by Intruder

September 6, 2018, United Kingdom

A man was arrested after four stained-glass windows were smashed and other property was damaged at Chester Cathedral. The incident occurred just after midnight on September 4th and money was stolen from the premises. The damage caused to the cathedral is likely to exceed £10,000. The Cathedral's acting dean said the damage to the four stained-glass windows which date back to 1920 was very upsetting, in particular, the damage caused to a window depicting St. Werburgh, the Patron Saint of Chester.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Police say 'Disgusting Attack' on Manchester Cathedral was Hate Crime

September 6, 2018, United Kingdom

Officers are treating the spraying of abusive graffiti onto the wall of the landmark late on September 6th as a "religiously aggravated attack." The language used was "too offensive to be published," according to media sources.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Anarchist Graffiti on Monument to the Virgen del Rocío

September 5, 2018, Spain

Sometime in the early morning hours of September 5th, vandals sprayed the anarchist "A" on the well-known monument. After city workers were unable to remove the paint using water, the monument's sculptor himself, Elías Rodríguez Picón, arrived to remove the paint. Local residents and officials expressed their outrage over the incident. Police began an investigation and reviewed security camera footage to identify the perpetrators of vandalism.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Chapel Vandalized in Péré

September 3, 2018, France

Parish announcements and a lectionary were burned in the small chapel Saint-Jean in the district of Péré, the lower town of Saint-Sever. Additionally, the monstrance was broken and a cross was thrown into a confessional. The vandalism occurred on the same day as the school fire of Toulouzette Park school in Saint-Sever. Police investigated a connection between the two incidents.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Senior Scottish Judge Criticized Asylum Tribunals for Disregarding Evidence of Christian Conversion

September 3, 2018, United Kingdom

An appellate court ordered a rehearing by immigration tribunals after Judge Lord Glennie, one of the appeal judges, found that the asylum judges had disregarded churchgoer's evidence of the Christian conversion of two Iranian asylum seekers who have been attending Tron Church in Glasgow and had been predisposed to rejecting their claims.

Access to Justice and Legal Services

Catholic Bookstore Vandalized by Anarchists

September 3, 2018, France

The Notre-Dame-de-France Catholic bookstore was vandalized during the night from the 2nd to 3rd of September. The perpetrators sprayed the word "FACHOS" ("fascists"), an anarchist A symbol, a communist symbol, and other words onto the windows and facade of the bookstore.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

"Jihad" and "Dead" Graffiti Sprayed on Church

September 3, 2018, Sweden

In the morning of September 3rd church staff discovered that the Alhem Church in Skellefteå had been sprayed with black graffiti, including "Jihad" and "Dead" with a Nazarene symbol for Christians. The police stated in a statement that they took this form of hateful attacks against churches very seriously, and that they do not equate them with regular hip-hop graffiti and so-called "tags."

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Graffiti on Valencia Church

September 1, 2018, Spain

The facade and windows of the church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción in la Plaza de Benimaclet were smeared with paint and graffiti and on the sidewalk in front of the church, the anarchist slogan "NI DIOS; NI PATRIA; NI AMOS" was written in paint. Local politicians expressed their regret, saying it was "dirty" and "damaged one of our most emblematic monuments." They also added that they are tired of "uncivil and intolerant people." A councilman in the city of Valencia, Alberto Mendoza, publicly denounced this act of vandalism and called for more security cameras to be put in place.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Repeated Vandalism in Ansbach Churches

August 31, 2018, Germany

On the 31st of August, police reported that between August 17th and 30th, 2018 there were several incidents of vandalism in the Kirche St. Ludwig. Confessionals and offering boxes were damaged in the amount of 700 Euros. A church in Eyb was also vandalized between the 20th and the 30th of August. A window was smashed and several meters of copper sheets (window panels, gutters), valued at about 2000 euros, were stolen. The material damage was about 300 euros. The police began an investigation.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Spanish TV Cuts Holy Mass Broadcasts

August 30, 2018, Spain

According to reports, RTVE, the Spanish national public radio and television service, will stop airing a weekly Sunday Mass, ending a tradition of almost 40 years. Although it is the most-watched program on the channel, the decision was explained by the government, which presented the proposal in March 2017, as necessary to become a "neutral" public television station that does not favor any belief or religion.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

Man Arrested for Fires at Methodist Church and Sikh Temple

August 29, 2018, United Kingdom

A 49-year-old man was charged on suspicion of arson in connection with two fires that were set in Edinburgh in the early hours of the 28th of August 2018. One fire was set with a petrol bomb at 5am at the Sikh temple Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Sheriff Brae, which is situated in the building of a former church, and the other was set at 7am at the Methodist Church in Junction Place. No one was injured, but the temple suffered smoke damage. The man is due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday, 30th of August 2018.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Stones Thrown at Lutheran Church

August 29, 2018, Germany

Witnesses called the police at about 9pm on August 29, 2018 to report six teenagers throwing stones against the facade and windows of the building of the St. Simeon Lutheran church in Kreuzberg, Berlin. The group fled the scene crying "Allahu akbar!" According to the police the building was damaged. It is not the first time this church has been subjected to such acts. Furthermore, a window was broken the following Sunday. The chuch is a so-called "Refugee Church" as it has opened its doors to refugees and runs multiple projects to assist them. The police opened an investigation, assigning the department dedicated to politically motivated crimes.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)