All cases

Fire Set in Neapolitan Basilica

October 10, 2019, Italy

The parish priest of the Basilica of San Giovanni Maggiore in Naples has condemned the fire set in the church's musician's chapel, known as the Ecce Homo. The fire had spread to the altar when firefighters were able to extinguish it.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Berlin Pregnancy Counseling Center Ransacked by Activists

October 6, 2019, Germany

Radical feminists claimed responsibility for breaking into the Pro Femina crisis pregnancy center in Berlin during the night of October 5-6. They smashed the windows on the third floor, smeared a hallway with paint and butyric acid (a foul smelling chemical) and the slogan "Pro Choice!", and glued closed the locks.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Legal Extension of IVF Met with Staunch Opposition in France

October 6, 2019, France

Tens of thousands of French protestors took to the streets of Paris on October 6th to protest the draft bioethics law which passed the lower house of parliament on September 25th. The bill would, amongst other provisions, allow all women under 43 the right to "medically assisted procreation," including in-vitro fertilization (IVF), regardless of their relationship status, or sexual orientation. Currently, French law only allows access to IVF to heterosexual couples unable to have children through natural means, who are either married, or who have lived together for two years.

Equality Militant Equality Laws Rights of Parents

Córdoba Church Broken into; Consecrated Hosts Scattered on Altar

October 5, 2019, Spain

Before dawn on October 5th, one or more intruders entered the 18th century Chapel of La Rosa in the Córdoba provincial town of Montilla through a side door. Once inside, they found the keys to the tabernacle, opened the pyx inside and scattered several hosts on the altar, according to the Rev. José Félix García, pastor of the parish of Santiago, to which the chapel belongs. Police opened an investigation.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Safety Fears for Iranian Convert to Christianity Facing Threat of Deportation

October 4, 2019, Germany

An Iranian Christian woman living in the state of Hesse in Germany fears for her life if she is forced to return to Iran, due to strict anti-conversion laws. The woman known as "Mahsa" fled Iran and traveled to Germany in 2015, after an attempted arrest by the religious police for her conversion to Christianity. A recent decision by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) denying her asylum limits Mahsa's options going forward.

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

Tribunal Rules Biblical View of Sexes "Incompatible with Human Dignity"

October 2, 2019, United Kingdom

A Christian doctor has lost an employment tribunal case, where he alleged that the Department of Work and Pensions breached his freedom of thought, conscience and religion pursuant to the Equality Act. Disability assessor, Dr. David Mackereth claimed discrimination on part of the Department of Work and Pensions for failing to accommodate his refusal to use pronouns which did not correspond with the biological sex of clients. In its decision, the panel stated that Dr. Mackereth's belief that "the Bible teaches us that God made humans male or female" was "incompatible with human dignity."

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

Christian Actress Sues after being Fired for Biblical Facebook Post

September 30, 2019, United Kingdom

In March 2019, a Christian West End actress, Seyi Omooba, was removed from a leading role in a musical and dropped from her agency for a Facebook post about homosexuality citing the Bible over four years earlier. With representation by the Christian Legal Centre, she launched a legal challenge on September 30th against Leicester Curve Theatre and her agency, Global Artists, for breach of contract and anti-Christian discrimination.

Contractual Freedom Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Medical Professionals Call for Conscience Safeguards if Northern Ireland Liberalizes Abortion Law

September 28, 2019, United Kingdom

Northern Ireland Minister received correspondence from more than 700 medical practitioners calling for conscience protections which would allow Christians and conscientious objectors within the profession the statutory right to refuse to participate in abortions.

Contractual Freedom Equality Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience

Marseille Crucifix Vandalized for Fifth Time in Four Months

September 26, 2019, France

The crucifix monument on the grounds of the Saint-Patrice church in the Croix-Rouge district of Marseille, was found vandalized with red paint on September 26th. It was the fifth time since the middle of May 2019 that the Christ figure had been defaced with red or blue paint. Public employees removed the paint and Marseille public officials denounced the vandalism.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Catholic Youth Association Condemns Profaning of Image of Virgin Mary in Facebook Post

September 25, 2019, Poland

In a written statement, the Catholic Youth Association condemned Adam Nergal Darski, the frontman of Polish extreme metal band 'Behemoth,' for his September 25th post on Facebook depicting him trampling on a devotional image of the Virgin Mary.

Desecration Hate Incident Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Saarland Government Denies Asylum to 400 Assyrian Christians

September 25, 2019, Germany

The Saarland Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) rejected the request of the Assyrian Cultural Association Saarlouis allow about 400 Syrian Christians from the conflict-torn region of Northern Syria on the Khabur River to enter Saarland. Despite offers of respite and assistance from the existing Assyrian community in the German federal state, the government said it would only admit five refugees.

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

Trial Began for 2016 Ramadan Attack on Christian Refugee

September 24, 2019, Germany

The trial of a 26-year-old Afghan who was charged with committing serious bodily injury against a Christian convert at the Rottacher Traglufthalle asylum accommodation in 2016 began on September 24th.

Freedom of Religion Hate Crime Hate Incident Insult or Incitement

Italian Court Ruling Opens the Door For Assisted Suicide in Italy

September 24, 2019, Italy

After surviving a 2014 car accident which resulted in tetraplegic paralysis and blindness, Italian disc Jockey Fabiano Antoniani (DJ Fabo) traveled to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland to end his life. The subsequent ruling of the Italian Constitutional Court over proceedings made against his accomplice now opens the door for the legalization of assisted suicide in Italy.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Conscience

Repeated Vandalism of Eglwysilan Parish Church In Wales

September 16, 2019, United Kingdom

Over the last few months, a church in Abertridwr, Wales endured repeated acts of vandalism, resulting in fears that it will have to close to public visits during the week. Damage included a stolen collection box, a damaged and defaced historic visitors book, in use since the 1940s, a flagstone outside the church was removed, and fire extinguishers were sprayed inside the church, causing both damage and financial burden.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Anti-Catholic Inscriptions Painted on Wall of Polish Church

September 16, 2019, Poland

Police in Olecko investigated acts of vandalism against the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Poland (kościele Najświętszej Maryi Panny Królowej Polski) where anti-religious phrases such as "Catholicism Decieves" and "Lead us not" (referring to part of the Lord's Prayer) were painted in black on the wall.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Zurich March for Life Disrupted by Violent Counter-Demo

September 14, 2019, Switzerland

The approved rally "March for Life" in Zurich on the afternoon of September 14th was disrupted by an unauthorized counter-demonstration. More than a thousand peaceful participants in the March for Life gathered on the Turbinenplatz to begin the march on an approved route in the city. At the same time, several hundred people -- called by some press reports a Red-Green alliance -- some with prams containing objects to be thrown (including stones and bottles), convened on the Josefswiese to start an unauthorized counter-demonstration parade. As they attempted to stop the counter-demo and prevent a clash with the March for Life, police were attacked with objects, including bottles and stones. Dumpsters were set on fire, a police vehicle was demolished, and firefighters were hindered by the protesters. In response, the police used a water cannon, rubber bullets, and tear gas to deter the protesters. Due to the violence, the police stopped the March for Life temporarily and ultimately shortened the route to prevent an encounter with the counter-demonstrators, some of whom were masked.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Insult or Incitement

Marseille Crucifix Vandalized Again

September 9, 2019, France

For the fourth time since May 2019, the crucifix monument on the grounds of the Saint-Patrice church in hte Croix-Rouge district of Marseille was vandalized on September 9th. As in previous incidents, the Christ figure was defaced with paint. In this instance the vandals used red paint to cover parts of the head and body.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Religious Statues Damaged in Marseille

August 30, 2019, France

A Marseille resident reported to l'Observatoire de la Christianophobie that religious statues in various districts of the city had been damaged over several months. Incidents included: the hands severed from a statue of the Virgin Mary, the crown broken from another statue of the Virgin Mary, and the arms broken off a statue of the infant Jesus.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Finnish Politician Investigated for Hate Crime for Sharing Bible Verse

August 27, 2019, Finland

The Helsinki Police Department announced it had opened pre-trial investigations into Päivi Räsänen, a Christian Democrat MP, for her criticism of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland's (ELCF) participation in the Helsinki LGBT Pride events in June. She posted a photograph of Romans 1:24-26 from the New Testament on Facebook and wrote "How does the foundation of the church’s teachings, the Bible, fit with elevating sin and shame as reasons for pride?"

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

Youth 'defecates in Spanish church, smears feces on statue, walls'

August 21, 2019, Spain

Police announced on August 21st that an 18-year-old man would be charged with defecating in a shrine to the Virgin Mary and then smearing his feces on a statue of Christ and on the walls of the church, Spanish news agencies report. The incident, caught on CCTV, took place on July 26 at the Santuario de la Virgen de la Fuensanta in the Jaén provincial town of Villanueva del Arzobispo.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Theft and Desecration at Oise Parish

August 9, 2019, France

The church of Saint-Éloi (parish of the Bienheureuses-Carmélites-de-Compiègne), diocese of Compiegne, Oise) was robbed, vandalized, and desecrated between the 3rd and 9th of August. Sound equipment, a ciborium, an aspergillum (a liturgical implement used to sprinkle holy water), holy water font, and other liturgical objects were stolen. The burglars forced open the tabernacle to steal the ciborium and stole consecrated hosts, as well. "The most essential thing for us is that the tabernacle was forced, and that the Blessed Sacrament, the presence of Christ was touched, stolen. Which is for us a desecration. The real presence of Christ has been stolen. It's something strong," said the communications director of the Oise diocese.

Desecration Hate Crime Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Liverpool Church Vandalized

August 4, 2019, United Kingdom

Six windows were smashed and mysterious graffiti reading "BEAST" was written on the wall of St. Oswald's Roman Catholic Presbytery in Old Swan (Liverpool). Police began an investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Repeated Vandalism at Longford Church; Bishop Calls it "Profoundly Disrespectful"

August 2, 2019, Ireland

Irish police Gardaí investigated an attempted burglary at the Catholic St. Michael's Church in Shroid, Longford Co. after a passerby reported broken windows to the parish house. Unknown perpetrators smashed a few plain glass windows and a stained glass window depicting the Sacred Heart which was over the altar of the church between July 28th and August 2nd.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

German Pastor Says Asylum for Christian Converts Has Become a Pure Gamble"

August 2, 2019, Germany

Protestant pastor Dr. Gottfried Martens, who ministers to over 1,600 people in his church, most of them converts and asylum seekers from Iran and Afghanistan, has said that whether someone is granted asylum or not is almost like a "pure gamble." The problem Martens sees in the administrative courts is how judges "verify" the earnestness of an asylum seeker's conversion to Christianity. Some trust a pastor's statement whether written or oral in court, while some ignore it and only focus on the short time they spend with the refugee in court. This fully depends on what kind of judge one gets appointed to, according to Martens, and there is no way to prepare well enough for a court date if there is no general regulation that a minister's statement be taken into account.

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

Italian Church Vandalized with Excrement

August 1, 2019, Italy

During the early morning hours of August 1st, unknown perpetrators vandalized the church of Sant'Antonio in Crebbio, Abbadia Lariana. They smeared excrement on the front door, staircase, lawn, and the cobblestones outside the church. Volunteers immediately began cleaning the heavily soiled area and found a yellow bowl with some dung residue. The parish priest of Abbadia and the community expressed deep shock and outrage. Police opened an investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Thief Targeted Offertory Box

July 30, 2019, Germany

An unidentified person pried open the offertory box for candles on July 30th in the St. Pancratius Catholic Church in Körbecke, Möhnesee.

Theft

NHS Trust Agreed to Christian Sunday Services after Threat of Legal Action

July 30, 2019, United Kingdom

A Christian patient’s request to have Sunday worship services at a medium secure mental health unit in East London have finally been granted after a year-long legal battle with the NHS on the grounds of religious discrimination. As a result of his weekly requests falling on deaf ears, Freddie O'Neil turned to the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) for support. A pre-action letter was then sent to the East London Foundation Trust in October 2018 stating that, as a Christian, Freddie needed to attend Sunday Christian services each week as well as receiving Holy Communion. After a year, and further threats of legal action, the Centre finally began offering weekly Sunday Christian services on Sunday 7 July 2019.

Freedom of Religion

Several Swastikas Painted on Oratory in Ireland

July 30, 2019, Ireland

Several swastikas were spray-painted on the oratory and a cross in the Comeragh mountains overlooking Clonmel by unknown vandals sometime before July 30th. A team of volunteers of the Holy Year Cross Committee in Clonmel had come up to the site to prepare it for the annual August bank holiday Monday mass when they discovered the graffiti. Gardaí investigated the incident.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Fire in Historic Evangelical Church

July 30, 2019, Germany

Construction workers noticed the smell of burning wood and smoke when they arrived at the Nikolaus-Kirchlein ("little church") in Buchenberg, Königsfeld in the Black Forest in the morning of the 30th of July. They alerted firefighters who were able to extinguish the fire before too much damage was done. The more than 800-year-old church remained mostly unscathed, as only one pew was damaged by the fire. Police are estimating a property damage of 5,000 euros and speculate that the fire began in the area of the altar, but an investigation was opened.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Atheist Parents Launch Legal Challenge against Christian Assemblies in Church-Run School

July 29, 2019, United Kingdom

An atheist couple launched a high court challenge because they feel their children are being religiously "indoctrinated" during assemblies at the Burford primary school in the Cotswolds in Oxfordshire, one of 33 schools of the Church of England's Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST). Parents are entitled to withdraw their children from assemblies such as these, even in church-run schools, which is what the couple did. However, they argue that the school must provide an "inclusive assembly as a meaningful alternative for pupils withdrawn from Christian worship," rather than simply supervision of the children.

Arson at St. Magnus Church at Schussenried Abbey

July 29, 2019, Germany

An unknown arsonist set fire to a cloth in the St. Magnus church of the Schussenried Abbey in Bad Schussenried on July 29th. The fire then extended to pictures and a wooden cross nearby. A witness noticed the fire and was able to extinguish it. Police are investigating.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church Hymnals Set On Fire

July 27, 2019, Germany

Unknown perpetrators set a row of hymnals on a shelf on fire in the St. Mauritius Catholic Church in Kippenheim in the early evening of July 27th. Witnesses noticed the fire and notified the police who were able to extinguish the fire and are now investigating.

Four Stations in Way of the Cross in Fatima Vandalized

July 26, 2019, Portugal

Four of the 14 chapels of the Valinhos Way of the Cross or the Shepherd's Way in Fatima were vandalized with yellow spray paint during the night between July 25th and 26th. The unknown perpetrators sprayed the heads and intimate areas of the figures, along with obscene words. The Shrine of Fatima covered the chapels and will carry out the extensive cleaning work required to remove the paint.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Judge Opens Proceedings Against "Pederoclastia" Installation

July 25, 2019, Spain

The Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers has sought a court order to shut down an artist’s installation entitled "Pederoclastia" that contains "ornaments used in Catholic worship" and "figures of children in explicitly sexual postures." The Association also said on July 19 that it would file a criminal complaint against artist Fernando Barredo de Valenzuela (who is also the coordinator for Toledo Laica) for offending religious sentiments and inciting hatred, and may take steps against the Círculo de Arte de Toledo for "attacking the feelings of Catholics." On July 25, Toledo’s Court of First Instance No 2 opened a preliminary investigation into the possibility that the case constituted corruption of minors but had not ordered the exhibition to be shut down.

Insult or Incitement Negative Stereotyping

Two Fires Intentionally Set in Autun Church

July 22, 2019, France

At 4:30 pm on July 22th, a parishioner noticed the smell of smoke emanating from the Notre-Dame church in Autun. When she entered the church, she discovered that two people were already there extinguishing the fire with their feet. The police reportedly found that there were two distinct fires set: one near the altar and the other near prayer chairs. An investigation is under way.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Graffiti on Church in Heiden

July 21, 2019, Germany

Unknown vandals vandalized large areas of St. Paulus Protestant Church's exterior in Heiden between July 21st and 22nd. They targeted a park bench, the church wall, six windows, and the surrounding bricks.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Man Arrested for Defacing more than 80 Graves with "666" in Church Cemetery

July 21, 2019, Denmark

A 46-year-old man was charged with spray-painting the number ‘666’ on 87 tombstones in a church cemetery in North Jutland, Denmark. Staff from the Hadsund Church noticed the damage on Sunday morning, July 21st. After an investigation, the man was arrested on July 24th after witnesses came forward. The man, who had been convicted of similar vandalism of a cemetery in 2016, denied responsibility for this incident.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Arson Suspected in Hyvinkää Old Church

July 19, 2019, Finland

In the early hours of July 19th, a passer-by notified the fire department that the warehouse of the Old Church in Hyvinkää was in flames and the church building itself was also on fire. Due to the results of the preliminary investigation, the chief inspector suspected the fire was set intentionally and opened an arson investigation. The wooden church itself remained mostly intact, however, the storage facility housing gardening tools was completely destroyed by the fire.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church and Chapel Vandalized in Quimper Diocese

July 14, 2019, France

During Sunday Mass on the 14 of July, parishioners learned of vandalism in both the church and chapel of the Saint-Mathieu parish in Pays d'Iroise (diocese of Quimper, Finistère). In the church of Saint-Budoc à Porspoder damage included a vandalized offertory box, cigarettes left in front of the altar of the Blessed Virgin, the door of the sacristy obstructed by the insertion of gravel in the lock, and vomit in the holy water stoups. In the Chapelle Saint-Samson à Landunvez, the most photographed chapel in France, an offertory box was vandalized and a cross thrown in the trash.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Medieval Norfolk Church Torched by Arson

July 12, 2019, United Kingdom

On July 12th, firefighters were called to a fire at St. Margaret's Ruined Church in Hopton after a motorbike was set on fire underneath the 13th century building. While the incident was ruled an arson by officials, the investigation was closed in October due to lack of evidence.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Paris: Vandalism in 13th Arrondissement Church

July 11, 2019, France

An unknown person intentionally set off the alarm in the church of Saint-Hippolyte in Paris around 9:30 am on July 11th and once the church was evacuated, took the opportunity to vandalize the payment terminals for church contributions (Denier de l’Église). As a result, the church restricted its opening hours to afternoons in July and August.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Man Arrested with Cans of Gasoline in Cathedral

July 8, 2019, France

A man in his thirties was arrested on July 8th at around 7 pm, after he entered the cathedral of Sées with several cans of gasoline. Witnesses apprehended him and handed him over to the police. According to reports, the man, who suffers from psychological problems, was taken to the psychotherapeutic center of Orne for compulsory hospitalization. However no criminal prosecution will be launched against him. According to the public prosecutor, "there is a total absence of discernment. He is totally irresponsible ... No criminal action may be taken."

Hate Incident

Two Suspicious Fires in Four Days in Bourg-Achard Church

July 2, 2019, France

Between June 26th and June 30th, two fires were discovered in the 13th century église Saint-Lô in Bourg-Achard (Eure). According to the police in charge of the investigation, there is a high probability that these two fires were deliberately set.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Spanish teenager given 6 months for death threat against Indian priest

June 26, 2019, Spain

A juvenile court has sentenced a 16-year-old boy to six months in custody for racial slurs and for threatening to kill the parish priest, a native of India, in the Malaga provincial town of Benajarafe.

Hate Crime

Marseille Crucifix Vandalized for Third Time in Two Months

June 26, 2019, France

The crucifix monument on the grounds of the church of Saint-Patrice in the Croix-Rouge district was discovered defaced with red paint on June 26th. The Christ figure had been previously painted with blue paint twice in May.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Evangelical Event Attendees Harshly Ridiculed

June 17, 2019, Austria

Many Christians complained about being offended and insulted for their religious faith after verbal attacks by Rudi Fußi on the Austrian talkshow "Fellner! Live: Rudi Fußi vs. Andreas Mölzer" which aired on June 17th on OE24.TV. As a guest on the program, Fußi launched into a tirade calling the estimated 10,000 Christians gathered at an evangelical event “lunatics” and mocking the act of praying for the Republic of Austria and the former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, calling it "completely cuckoo, totally sick" after the show host had introduced the topic.

Defamation Negative Stereotyping

Explosion Near Syrian Orthodox Church in Södertälje

June 14, 2019, Sweden

The national bomb protection agency was called in to investigate an explosion at an events hall at the St. Afrem Syrian Orthodox Church in Södertälje in the early morning hours of June 14th. The blast was reportedly strong enough to be heard 100 meters away. The same building, owned by the church, was the target of an explosion in September.

Hate Crime

Arson in Vienna Church; Tourist Extinguished Fire with Holy Water

June 12, 2019, Austria

A tourist discovered that fires had been set in confessionals in the Dominican church of St. Rotunda during the afternoon of June 12th and extinguished them with holy water. This incident was announced on June 19th, the same day as a series of arson attacks in Graz, including at the city hall, courthouse, district administration building, and the main station. A 45-year-old Iraqi was arrested by police after the fire at the station.

Hate Crime

Reliquary Stolen from Portuguese Church

June 11, 2019, Portugal

On June 11th, unknown thieves targeted the church of the convent of São Domingo in Viana do Castelo (Minho) and stole a gilt metal reliquary containing the bones of Blessed Bartholomew of Braga (Bartolomeu dos Mártires) who was a former Archbishop of Braga and is well known and greatly revered in Portugal. The bishop of Viana do Castelos called the theft an "attack on the feelings" of Catholics. The parish priest of Igreja de São Domingos said the stolen gold-plated reliquary "does not have great commercial value, but what was in it, the bones of Bartolomeu dos Mártires, is of incalculable value."

Theft

Priest Stabbed on the way to Mass: Updated

June 10, 2019, Poland

A Wroclaw priest, Fr. Ireneusz Bakalarczyk was attacked by a a 56-year-old man and stabbed with a knife on his way to the morning Mass on Pentacost Monday. The attacker, identified as Zygmunt W., was arrested and on June 11th he was brought before a court. News reports indicate that the man confessed to the crime and was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. Prosecutors have not released any details about his motive. A spokesperson from the Archdiocese of Wrocław said there was no indication that Fr. Bakalarczyk was personally targeted, but that the suspect likely intended to attack any "man in a cassock."

Hate Crime