All cases

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)

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)

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 Kuthirt 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

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

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."

Nine Statues of the Virgin Mary Attacked in Less than Four Hours in Pyrenees

January 9, 2020, France

On the morning of January 9th, in the space of 45 minutes, five statues of the Virgin Mary, located in three different churches of Pau (Pyrénées-Atlantiques): Saint-Martin, Saint-Jacques and Notre-Dame, were destroyed. Similar vandalism continued in the churches of the Béarn communes of Lons, Artix, Denguin, and Mourenx, where, each time, a statue of the Virgin was destroyed. A 35-year-old man, described as homeless, was arrested in Mourenx at the end of the day and sent for psychiatric evaluation.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christ Figures Stolen Twice in Two Weeks in Fabriano

January 7, 2020, Italy

The Christ child figure was stolen on Christmas Eve from the nativity in the church of San Giovanni Battista in Fabriano (Ancona). Volunteers purchased a new figure to replace it. The new figure was then stolen from the San Filippo church around Epiphany, but returned a few days later.

Theft

Two Nativity Scenes Burnt in Ivrea

January 4, 2020, Italy

Police in Ivrea (near Turin) identified a 46-year-old woman suspected of setting fire to two church nativity scenes: one in the church of San Maurizio and the second in the church of San Salvatore on January 4th. She faces a complaint for damage. The fires not only destroyed the two nativity scenes with plastic statuettes, but in the Church of San Maurizio the fire practically incinerated a painting by Tullio Alemanni, "The Baptism of Jesus," which was located above the baptismal font next to the crèche, in addition to a fresco, also by Alemanni, positioned between the crèche and the baptismal font.

Hate Crime

Baby Jesus Figure Stolen from Church Crèche

January 4, 2020, Italy

The parish of Sacro Cuore in Trapani reported the theft of the Christ figure from the nativity scene in the church on January 4th.

Theft

Statue of Virgin Mary Stolen from Saint-Étienne-du-Grès Church

January 2, 2020, France

A statue of the Virgin Mary was stolen from the church of Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption in the town of Saint-Étienne-du-Grès on January 2, 2020.

Theft

Nativity Scene Repeatedly Vandalized in Alice Castello

January 1, 2020, Italy

The nativity scene installed by Alice Castello volunteers was repeatedly vandalized at the end of December and into the new year, with the figures broken and some of the statues beheaded. This was the third year in a row that this installation was attacked by vandals.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Infant Jesus and Cradle Burnt in Manger Scene

January 1, 2020, Italy

Inhabitants of Pedemonte were shocked to discover that the figure of the baby Jesus in the nativity scene erected in the Piazza San Rocco church square was burnt on New Year's Eve. Only the charred remains of the figure were left inside the blackened wooden cradle.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Jesus Statue Beheaded in the Crèche of Caprino Veronese

December 31, 2019, Italy

Parishioners at the New Year's Day Mass learned from the priest that the statue of Jesus was no longer in the cradle in the nativity scene in Piazza San Marco in Caprino Veronese because it had been decapitated the night before.

Christmas Figures Broken by Vandals on New Year's Eve

December 31, 2019, Italy

Statues in the nativity scene in Piazza della Libertà, Lizzanello (Lecce) were vandalized by unknown perpetrators during the night of December 31st. The faces of several of the handmade statues were smashed.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christ Figure Stolen from Nativity on New Year's Eve

December 31, 2019, Italy

On New Year's Eve, a man riding a bicycle was filmed by security cameras stopping at the crèche in Lecce's Piazza Duomo and stealing the Christ child figure.

Theft

Nativity Scene Dismantled Early Due to Repeated Vandalism

December 30, 2019, Italy

Volunteers from the volunteer association Pro Loco of Robbiate were forced to take down the nativity installation prematurely due to repeated vandalism. Vandalism included detaching wooden planks from the hut, dismantling pieces of the roof, and throwing away ornaments and furnishings. The display was dismantled on December 29th instead of January 6th.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Four Teenagers Vandalized Christ Child Statue in Nativity Scene

December 29, 2019, Italy

Four teenaged boys were identified and referred to the Public Prosecutor at the Juvenile Court of Bresci on allegations that they vandalized the statue of the Christ child in the nativity scene in the piazza outside the basilica in San Benedetto Po. The day after the incident, police found the head and torso of the statue hanging on an iron pole on the opposite side of the piazza. Evidence collected led the police to the four perpetrators, described as Muslims, born in Italy, of Moroccan descent. They reportedly admitted their involvement in the incident.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Statue of Christ Child Hanged in Mogliano Veneto

December 29, 2019, Italy

The statue of the Christ child was discovered removed from the nativity scene in Piazza Berto in Mogliano and hung above the ground with an electric cable around its neck. Plastic cups littered the ground of the crèche.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Electrical Equipment Stolen from Live Nativity Set

December 29, 2019, Italy

The electrical materials used for a live nativity performance in Canosa di Puglia were stolen on December 29th by unknown thieves.

Theft

Christ Child Statue Taken from Crèche; Thrown to the Ground

December 28, 2019, Italy

The resin figure of Jesus was taken out of the public nativity scene in Parè di Conegliano during the night between December 27th and 28th and thrown to the ground nearby by unknown vandals. Other figures in the scene were toppled and the cradle was stolen.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Paint and Fire Attack on Evangelical Church in Germany

December 27, 2019, Germany

On December 27th an anonymous group attacked the independent evangelical church TOS Ministries Tübingen in southern Germany. Several masked people simultaneously set a minibus owned by the church on fire and sprayed the entry area of the church with purple paint. According to the police, the attack resulted in damage of 40,000 euros. A group calling itself a "Feminist Autonomous Cell" (“Feministische Autonome Zelle” FAZ) claimed responsibility for the attack a few days later in an online letter.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Elaborate Nativity Scene Damaged by Vandals

December 26, 2019, Italy

The nativity scene in Valgiano, which was nine meters wide and 8 meters high, with an area of ​​over 30 square meters, most of which is occupied by water, including a central lake, a smaller body of water, and waterfalls was vandalized on December 26th. Unknown perpetrators threw detergent into the water, which may have reacted with chlorine, creating a sea of ​​foam and a pungent smell.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church Crèche Vandalized Three Times Around Christmas

December 25, 2019, France

The nativity scene installed in front of the Notre-Dame church of Dijon was vandalized with litter and garbage bags three times between December 20th and 25th.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Thieves Stole Baby Jesus Statue and Crib on Christmas Day

December 25, 2019, Italy

Thieves removed the handmade statue of the Jesus child and wooden cradle on Christmas day at the Don Angelo Frare park near the parish church in Mosnigo.

Theft

Ourense Nativity Scene Vandalized Three Times Leading up to Christmas

December 24, 2019, Spain

A nativity scene in the city of Ourense was damaged on the morning of December 20th, the Christ child figure was stolen and arms broken on December 23rd, and after being recovered and installed again on December 24th, the figure was stolen again on Christmas Day.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Children's Crèche Scene Destroyed by Vandals

December 24, 2019, Italy

During night between December 23 and 24, unidentified vandals entered a park while it was closed and destroyed some of the polystyrene figures in a nativity scene made by elementary school children.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Nativity Scene Vandalized on Christmas Eve

December 24, 2019, Italy

Residents in Ossi, a town a few kilometers from Sassari (Sardinia), woke on Christmas day to discover that the crèche installed by a local group (Pro Loco), in collaboration with the municipal administration, had been vandalized on the town's main street. The statues were torn up, dragged, and abandoned on the street.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christ Statue Stolen from Crib; Beheaded and Abandoned in Cemetery

December 24, 2019, Italy

A statue of the Christ child, placed in the manger of the nativity scene in front of the parish church of Arbus, in southern Sardinia, was beheaded by vandals. The head was left in front of the municipal cemetery. After it was found, the head was glued back on to the body, but the local community was shocked.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Arsonists Target Set of Live Nativity Performance

December 24, 2019, Italy

At 10:15 p.m. on December 24th, unknown arsonists set fire to the roof of the set of a live nativity performance in Revine. The scene, made with wooden planks and poles and covered with reeds that volunteers had recovered a few days earlier from nearby lakes, was located in the churchyard of the church of San Matteo. A bottle of alcohol and a pair of building site gloves, tools used by arsonists to set the fire, were found on the ground. Two teams of firefighters from Vittorio Veneto rushed to the scene and managed to tame the fire before it could affect the wooden structure.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Nativity Vandalized on Christmas Eve

December 24, 2019, Italy

Mario Seghezzi, the mayor of Martinengo, reported on Facebook that vandals destroyed the nativity scene installed near the parish church: “I am truly sorry for the vile act that took place on Christmas Eve. An act that hurts the serenity, magic, and warmth of Christmas." Because the vandalism was recorded by video surveillance cameras, the mayor expressed hope that the three identified vandals would repair the damage.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Municipal Crèche and Christmas Decorations in Saint-Éloy-des-Mines Vandalized

December 18, 2019, France

During the night from the 17th to 18th of December, the crèche installed on Place Charles-de-Gaulle and Christmas decorations at the town hall were destroyed. The heads of the life-sized figures representing Mary, Joseph and two wise men were cut off, and arms torn off. Garlands and fir trees in front of the town hall were damaged or stolen. “We are still in a Judeo-Christian country," said the mayor, "we can believe it or not, it remains deplorable to attack a crèche and decorations. We do that for the children... they were shocked this morning seeing all this damage."

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Fire in Loire Church During Mass

December 15, 2019, France

In Saint-Just-en-Bas (Loire), 300 m² of the roof of the local church went up in flames on Sunday, December 15, during the morning Mass. An official of the commune sounded the alert when he saw an unusual smoke coming from the nave. The church was evacuated and no casualties were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Hate Crime Hate Incident

Angolo Terme Nativity Scene Vandalized

December 14, 2019, Italy

On December 14th, unknown vandals beheaded the statue of St. Joseph, placed the ox and the donkey figures in an obscene position, and threw litter inside the small nativity scene installed by municipal volunteers in Angolo Terme .

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christmas Crèche Hit by Two Sets of Vandals

December 12, 2019, Italy

Video surveillance captured the images of two sets of vandals attacking the nativity scene installed in the Lecce Piazza Duomo during the early morning hours (1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.) of December 12th.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Catholic Youth Center in Munich Targeted by Vandals

December 11, 2019, Germany

A few weeks after four churches around Munich were painted with leftist slogans, the Salesianum, a Catholic youth center run by the religious community of Don Bosco, was vandalized with swastikas, SS runes, and "Widerstand Süd," a neo-Nazi network. According to reports, the location was likely not chosen by chance, because the Salesianum also looks after underage refugees.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

German Church Windows Targeted by Vandals

December 11, 2019, Germany

The windows of St. Peter's Church in Hüsten in Germany were damaged by vandals who were caught throwing stones. After witnesses heard the sound of stones hitting the church, police patrol cars caught the perpetrators. An investigation continues

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Graffiti and Vandalism on Church in Bisceglie

December 9, 2019, Italy

The outer walls of the parish of Sant'Agostino in Bisceglie were vandalized with spray-painted graffiti during the night between the 8th and 9th of December. According to the parish priest, this is not the first time he has had to go to the police to file a complaint. "I have been asking for help to find a solution for 5 years," he explained.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

British Christmas Card Producer under fire for deeply offensive products

December 8, 2019, United Kingdom

A line of Christmas cards produced by British card company 'Love Layla' caused controversy for including messages mocking some of the deeply held beliefs of the Christian faith. The cards included taglines which call into question the Virgin Mary's miraculous conception, and which refer to Jesus as "a bloke that wore socks with sandals." Speaking to the Daily Mirror, James Mildred, for Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) said, "A lot of Christians will be deeply offended by this sort of thing...It highlights a fundamental hypocrisy that Christianity is seen as fair game to mock, disparage and insult."

Negative Stereotyping

Handmade Nativity Figures Damaged by Vandals

December 7, 2019, Italy

During the night of December 7th (the night before they were to be displayed), unknown vandals damaged the nativity figures in Palau. The town's inhabitants, along with the artist Mario Spano, known as Marieddu, who spent months making them by hand, were dismayed by the act.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Four Munich Churches Vandalized with Anti-Christian messages

December 6, 2019, Germany

Police suspect leftist activists were responsible for the vandalism of four Munich-area churches that left parishioners outraged and dismayed. Slogans such as "Burn the churches down" and "Neither God nor master - destroy the patriarchy" were painted on the entrances of the churches resulting in thousands of euros in damage.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Report on Theft and Vandalism in Austrian Churches

December 5, 2019, Austria

Crucifixes and a fountain from a chapel in Alpbach. A gilded statue of the Virgin Mary from the parish church in Kufstein. A baroque monstrance from a church in Pfaffstätten, host bowls in Biedermannsdorf -- these are just a few examples of sacred art objects that were stolen from Austrian churches in 2019.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Man Arrested for Setting Fire at Lyon Church

December 5, 2019, France

A drunk man was arrested by Lyon police for setting fire to a garbage can placed against the door of the Saint-Georges church. The fire caused extensive to the door and smoke damage inside the church.

Hate Crime

European Parliament Speaks Out against Christian Persecution in Algeria

December 2, 2019, European Institutions (EU, ECHR, et.al.)

The European Parliament adopted a resolution which calls "for an end to violations against the freedom of Christians and other religious minorities to worship."

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

Pastor Sues After Being Forced out of job and Harassed over Pride Tweet

December 1, 2019, United Kingdom

A Christian pastor and school caretaker, who received abuse and threats for a June 2019 tweet about LGBTQ Pride has taken legal action against the school which he felt forced to leave.

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

Priest's Car Burned in Calabria Arson Attack

November 30, 2019, Italy

The car owned by the parish priest of Basilica di Maria SS di Monserrato in Vallelonga was destroyed in an arson attack on December 2nd while it was parked near the church. Press reports described the incident as "intimidation" of the priest and shocking to locals. The priest discovered the fire and contacted the fire brigade and police from the Compagnia Serra San Bruno began an arson investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Street Preacher in Norway Attacked

November 27, 2019, Norway

Roar Fløttum was preaching and praying for the sick on a Trondheim street on November 27th when he interacted with four Muslim men. According to Fløttum, the men asked him to come with them to pray for a friend. He agreed and when they got him to a backyard, they pushed him down a cellar staircase, beat him, robbed him, and threatened to kill him if he did not convert to Islam. Police, who have called this a very serious incident, are reviewing street camera footage to identify the perpetrators.

Hate Crime

Advent Songs Removed from School's Year-End Performance

November 26, 2019, Switzerland

School leadership at a Wil elementary school in the Swiss Canton of St. Gallen made the decision to remove the three Advent/Christmas songs from the program of its year-end show, out of "respect for other cultures and religions." Teachers were reportedly "astonished" at the decision and the President of the Coordination of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland, encouraged schools not to change their traditions: "From our point of view, it is very regrettable when Christian songs are no longer sung in a Christian country," he said.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

High Court Permanently Bans Protests against "No Outsiders" School Programme

November 26, 2019, United Kingdom

A High Court judge ruled in favor of an exclusion zone around a school in Birmingham permanent, preventing parents from protesting outside the grounds against the "No Outsiders" primary school programme that teaches about LGBT relationships. Many parents and activists claim the programme contradicts their faith and is not "age appropriate." A temporary exclusion zone was first imposed by the courts in the summer after months of protests outside Anderton Park Primary School by mostly Muslim parents. Birmingham City Council claimed that the order was sought from the courts over safety concerns.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Rights of Parents

Locals Outraged by Theft of Christkind Figure from Vienna Christmas Market

November 26, 2019, Austria

The Christkind (Christ child) figure was stolen twice in three days from the Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market) on Enkplatz in Vienna. The original figure was replaced after the first theft. The replacement was then stolen. Now it has been replaced, at least temporarily, with a wooden stake with a woolen cap on top. Locals expressed outrage at the thefts and the priest of the adjacent church offered to receive the figure "discreetly" from anyone who wished to return it.

Theft

Two Church Burglaries in Rennes

November 25, 2019, France

Notre-Dame-en-Saint-Melaine Church and Saint-Sauveur Basilica in Rennes were burglarized during the night of November 24th to 25th by unknown thieves. The doors were pried open with crow bars and offertory trunks were broken. The parish priest of Notre-Dame called the incident "ugly and hurtful."

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Lourdes Grotto in Avolsheim Vandalized with Fire Extinguisher

November 24, 2019, France

The Grotto of Notre-Dame de Lourdes of l'église Saint-Pierre ("Dompeter") in Avolsheim (Bas-Rhin) was found sprayed with the contents of one or more fire extinguishers. Nestled in the middle of the fields, the isolated site is known by many Alsatians as the church is the oldest in Alsace and is on the Pilgram's Way of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostela (Camino de Santiago). In the field adjoining the grotto, large tracks of a vehicle were noted. The police began an investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Three Christian Buildings Recently Vandalized in Maribor

November 22, 2019, Slovenia

Graffiti reading "Death to the Clerofascists" (Smrt klerofašistom) was painted on the outside of the Church of St. Mary, Mother of the Church in late October; and on the St. Barbara Chapel on Calvary, Maribor Hill and on the Catholic High School in Maribor in November by unknown vandals. Police opened an investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Extreme Vandalism in Tarbes Church

November 21, 2019, France

On the afternoon of November 21st, two men broke a door and entered the church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste in the Tarbes city center to commit serious vandalism. The unidentified vandals tore up and burned Mass books and then soiled them with human excrement; at least one of them urinated against a wall. A statue of St. John the Baptist was thrown at the pews, a crucifix was toppled and thrown to the ground, and a fire extinguisher was emptied in the church. The organ was opened and microphone wires were torn out. The perpetrators fled when a parishioner entered to pray.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Update: Atheist Parents win Legal Challenge against Christian Assemblies in Church-Run School

November 20, 2019, United Kingdom

An atheist couple who launched a High Court challenge because they feel their children are being religiously "indoctrinated" during assemblies have won their judicial review claim. The Burford primary school in the Cotswolds in Oxfordshire is one of 33 schools of the Church of England's Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST). Although parents were already entitled to withdraw their children from assemblies, even in church-run schools, The Harrises have argued 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.

French Nun Denied a Place in Retirement Home Due to Religious Habit

November 19, 2019, France

In October 2018, an elderly nun applied for a place in a retirement home in Vesoul, run by the city's Centre Communal d'Action Sociale (CCAS) in her home prefecture of Haute-Saone. After nine months on the waiting list, on July 2019, her request for housing was accepted, but with one condition: "With due respect for secularism, any ostentatious sign of belonging to a religious community cannot be accepted in order to ensure the serenity of all. Indeed, religion is a private affair and must remain so." The nun was told she could only wear a discreet cross. Having worn her religious habit all of her adult life, she refused to comply and was thus denied a place.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Religious Symbols

Arrests for Vandalism in Church

November 18, 2019, France

On November 18th, five young people were arrested for vandalism at the church Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais. Vandalism included urinating in confessionals and holy water stoups, tearing up a book, and attempting to set fire to the altar cloth.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Italian Church Thief Urinated on Altar

November 16, 2019, Italy

On the afternoon of November 16th, an unidentified man entered the Trasfigurazione del Signor church in Scorrano while it was empty and stole money from the donation box and a golden necklace from around the neck of a statue of the Virgin Mary. Before leaving the church, he urinated on the altar underneath the crucifix. The incident was captured on video and police are investigating the identity of the individual.

Desecration Hate Crime Hate Incident Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

German Church and Pilgrimage Site Targeted by Arsonists Twice in One Week

November 16, 2019, Germany

A visitor to the St. Katharina Kirche in Buschhoven discovered that a fire had been set in the church during the early afternoon of November 16th. Local media reports that books and booklets were placed on top of the lit candlesticks in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary, revered by Christians and pilgrims as the "Rosa Mystica." The books caught fire and the church was enveloped in a huge mass of smoke and soot before the fire brigade was able to extinguish the blaze. Earlier in the week, a fire had been set in the same church using the candles but was extinguished before major damage occurred.

Hate Crime Hate Incident Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Protestant Church Vandalized in Buschhoven

November 16, 2019, Germany

The Protestant Versöhnungskirche in Buschhoven was the target of vandalism twice in the same week, with its hymnals and booklets scattered, seat cushions thrown on the floor, candles pushed off the altar, and a small fire lit on a doormat. These incidents coincided with fires having been set at the nearby St. Katharina Kirche.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christ Figure Burnt in Holy Sepulcher Chapel

November 14, 2019, Spain

On morning of November 14th, the hermitage of the Holy Sepulcher in Tauste (Zaragoza) was discovered vandalized and the life-sized statue of the Nazarene Christ burnt. The custodian of the hermitage, Juan Francés, found the remains of a fire when he opened the hermitage and found "everything lying on the ground and on fire.” The city council of Tauste condemned the attack on the hermitage “It was an attack on a religious and cultural symbol of our people. It is not a simple act of vandalism.”

Desecration Hate Crime Hate Incident

Politician Deselected for Christian Views

November 13, 2019, United Kingdom

A Catholic Liberal Democrat who was the prospective candidate for Stoke-on-Trent South in the upcoming election was abruptly deselected on the basis that his "values" were not in line with the party. Thirty-six hours after Robert Flello was chosen as the Lib Dem candidate, the party announced in a press release that his candidacy had been revoked. The former Labour MP's views on abortion and marriage were not a secret, as he had been a member of parliament for 12 years.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

Nuns at Carmelite Convent in Ireland Verbally Abused by Intruders; Chapel Desecrated

November 11, 2019, Ireland

Intruders broke into the Star of the Sea Carmelite Nuns monastery in Malahide in the early afternoon of November 11th and verbally abused the elderly resident sisters, sprayed and smeared the walls of convent's chapel with graffiti.

Desecration Hate Crime Hate Incident Insult or Incitement Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Arson and Destruction at Churches on Chios

November 10, 2019, Greece

Over the weekend of November 9-10, unidentified vandals broke windows and set the Agia Trapeza (altar) on fire, burning sacred items, in the Agios Haralambos Church. According to reports, this was the third church vandalized in Chalkios on the island of Chios within a week. In the Church of Panagia, a window was smashed and oil and candles were stolen and a fire was set in the Church of Agios Petros and Pavlos.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Desecration and Vandalism of Tonnay-Charente Church: Tabernacle Broken Open; Statue Decapitated

November 9, 2019, France

Just before an evening Mass on November 9th, unidentified vandals entered the Tonnay-Charente church and tore open the tabernacle of the altar of the Virgin Mary, breaking the doors. The consecrated hosts in the ciborium were thrown to the ground and the glass container holding a host consecrated for adoration was stolen. In addition, crosses were reversed and chairs and statues were broken, including one depicting St. Joseph holding the baby Jesus, which was decapitated by the perpetrators. The Bishop said, this was "desecration, not burglary."

Freedom of Religion

Two Fires Set in Lleida Church

November 8, 2019, Spain

Unknown perpetrators set fire to an altar in the church of Sant Joan in Lleida (Lérida) on November 7th. The rector, Joan Ramon Ezquerra, reported that a day earlier, three bouquets around the church had also been set on fire. Mass could not be celebrated in the central nave and had to be moved to the chapel.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Second investigation: Finnish Christian MP investigated for 2004 pamphlet on homosexuality

November 5, 2019, Finland

On November 4th, the Finnish State General Prosecutor issued a press release announcing the launch of a pre-trial investigation into the publication and distribution of the 2004 pamphlet "Mieheksi ja naiseksi hän heidät loi" (in English, “Male and female He created them”), authored by Päivi Räsänen, the Finnish politician investigated by the police for a tweet in June 2019 quoting the Bible on the issue of homosexuality. Although the pamphlet was printed 15 years ago, it will be included in the case against the Christian politician because it is still “available online.” Räsänen, who served in the past as Minister of the Interior of the government of Finland, risks being accused under Section 10 of the Criminal Code of Finland for “ethnic agitation,” a crime punishable with a fine or prison.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Victory for Christian Refugees at European Court of Human Rights

November 5, 2019, France

Victory in international court bolsters protections for Christians who face life-threatening persecution in home countries.

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

'Battering Ram' Night-Raid Robbery at French Cathedral

November 4, 2019, France

A car fitted with a battering ram was driven into the door of the Cathedral Sainte-Marie d'Oloron in southwestern France on November 4th. Once inside the cathedral, thieves entered the chapel and sawed the iron bars protecting sacred and liturgical items. They stole chalices, ciboria, a centuries old nativity scene, and vestments used by the priest for the Mass. Authorities characterized the theft as organized and well-planned.

Desecration Hate Crime Hate Incident Theft

Self-Described Satanist Vandalized 100 Graves in Cognac Cemetery

October 30, 2019, France

Just before All Saints' Day, about 100 graves were damaged or destroyed in the Breuil cemetery of Cognac. Christian symbols including crucifixes, crosses, and statues of the Virgin Mary and angels were targeted. An 18-year-old self-described Satanist who "hates all religions, especially Catholicism," was arrested by the police. The timing of the incident, given its close proximity to the feast of All Saints and All Souls, shocked local residents.

Desecration Hate Crime Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Parish Church Cemetery Vandalized in Zabrzu-Helence

October 27, 2019, Poland

More than 40 graves were vandalized in the cemetery of the Our Lady Mother of the Church (Maryi Panny Matki Kościoła) parish of Zabrzu-Helence during the night between October 26 and 27, just days before Catholics observe All Saints' and All Souls' Days. Granite tombstones were torn down and broken, and wooden crosses were destroyed by unknown vandals.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

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)

Fire Set in Witzenhausen Church

October 10, 2019, Germany

Police reported that at 3:30 p.m. on October 10th, a fire was found in the the Evangelical Free Church (Christuskirche) in Witzenhausen. Police officers discovered that several sheets of paper were lit in the area of ​​a stairway directly in front of a wooden shelf, with an oily liquid used as an accelerant. The ignited papers went out without spreading and there was only minor damage to property.

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)

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

Vandals Set Fire to the Door of the San Juan de Dios Convent of Olivenza

September 20, 2019, Spain

The Convent of San Juan de Dios de Olivenza was vandalized for the second time in a few days. At the end of August, it suffered a paint attack and on September 20th, it was set on fire. An investigation was opened to try to find out who or who is behind this vandalism.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

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 Deceives" 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)

Church Desecrated with Satanic Tags in Giroussens

September 3, 2019, France

A secluded church in Giroussens was discovered vandalized with blue graffiti including an inverted cross on the front of the altar. Other images found in Notre-Dame-de-Sept-Fages included goat with horns, an inverted pentagram, and the message behind the altar: "Here an army is born." The mayor expressed anger and filed a police complaint

Desecration 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)

Arson Causes 100,000 Euros in Damage at Wildeshausen Church

August 30, 2019, Germany

Unknown perpetrators attempted to set fire to parts of the St.-Peter Kirche in Wildeshausen on August 30th at around 3 p.m. They lit hymn books on the stairs to the organ loft with sacrificial candles, but they did not catch fire. The perpetrators then apparently lit a hymn book and the seat cushion of a row of benches with matches and the candle flame. The cushion burned over the entire length of four meters but fortunately, the wooden benches did not catch fire. Damage from the smoke generated by the burning cushion caused extensive damage to the interior of the church and organ.

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

Police Investigate Church Arson in Saint-Amand-sur-Sèvre

August 24, 2019, France

Criminal investigators were brought on the scene after a suspicious fire began in the wooden library of the Saint-Amand church in Saint-Amand-sur-Sèvre on August 24th. The fire was brought under control by the gendarmes of the community of brigades (COB) of Cerizay-Mauléon dispatched to the site. Sixteen firefighters were also present as well as a team from Gérédis who cut off the electrical power to the building.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)