All cases

Theft and Vandalism in a Cemetery in Thionville

July 27, 2020, France

Between the 26th and 27th of July, about 21 bronze statuettes of Christ or the Virgin Mary were torn off and stolen from the Saint-François de Thionville communal cemetery (Moselle). Official said this was "a targeted, premeditated and large-scale operation."

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Repeated Vandalism of Virgin and Child Statue in Noirmoutier-en-l'Île

July 27, 2020, France

Unknown perpetrators vandalized the statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus during the night of July 27th for the third time -- this time, decapitating the head of the Christ child. In 2018, vandals beheaded both figures on the statue; and in mid-July, (see link below) the pedestal of the statue was vandalized with graffiti.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

UPDATE: Volunteer Charged with Nantes Arson

July 26, 2020, France

On Sunday, July 26th, the diocesan volunteer who had been questioned and released last week was indicted for the arson of the Nantes cathedral and placed in pre-trial detention.

Vandalism of Church, Cemetery, and Morgue in Günzkofen

July 26, 2020, Germany

During the night of Sunday 26th unknown perpetrators severely vandalized the cemetery of the St. Jakobus church and and the enclosed morgue. According to police, the perpetrators broke several windows of the church and the morgue at the cemetery in Günzkofen with grave decorations. In addition, they also tampered with several graves, causing total damage of about 1,000 euros.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism with Satanic Inscriptions Found on Church Doors in Goleszów

July 26, 2020, Poland

"666," a pentagram, an inverted cross, and the phrase "Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer" were painted on the door of the church in Goleszów by unknown perpetrators. The graffiti was noticed on the morning of July 26th by the priest who came to prepare the church for Mass. The police filed a report in this case and are investigating.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Barclays Bank and Online Platforms Closed Christian Charities' Accounts

July 25, 2020, United Kingdom

Two Christian organizations that help people “who voluntarily seek change in sexual preference and expression,” have been notified by Barclays Bank that their accounts would be closed. The move by the bank followed a social media campaign demanding that the bank end its professional relationship with Core Issues Trust (CIT) and The International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice (IFTCC), accusing both groups of promoting “conversion therapy.” In recent weeks, the UK government has pledged to ban "conversion therapy." The charities' head, Mike Davidson, disputes the use of the term: “The term ‘conversion therapy’ is being used as a catch-all phrase designed to discredit any help that people may provide to those with mixed sexual attractions who prefer their heterosexual side. This could include a listening ear, formal counselling or spiritual support.”

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

Vandalism of Wayside Cross in Bining

July 25, 2020, France

On July 25th, one of the wayside crosses in Bining (Moselle) was toppled over and smashed. The police are investigating and looking for possible witnesses.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Six Stained Glass Windows Smashed in Nîmes Church

July 24, 2020, France

Shortly before midnight on July 24th, a drunken man attacked the Saint-Baudile church in Nîmes, breaking six stained glass windows using a steel bar nearly two meters long. The man, known to the police, was arrested after being caught in the act.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Proposed Scottish Hate Crime Bill Threatens Freedom of Speech and Worship

July 23, 2020, United Kingdom

The Scottish Justice Committee has proposed a new hate crime bill, which extends the current hate crime law covering race, to include other "protected characteristics" such as religion, sexual orientation, and transgender identity. Christian and secular groups have criticized the bill as too broad and subjective, potentially interfering with freedom of speech and worship.

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

Fires Set in Tyrol Church; Witnesses Sought by Police

July 23, 2020, Austria

Would-be arsonists started a fire in the parish church in Waidring (Kitzbühel district) on July 23rd. According to police, between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m., unknown perpetrators distributed and lit several matchboxes, matches, and candles on the church pews. In addition, they tried to set fire to a hymn book, presumably using matches. Around 5:15 p.m., a witness noticed the smell of fire in the church, but the fire had already gone out. There was a similar incident on Monday, July 20th: according to investigators, burning ignition wicks had been placed on the kneelers of the church pews.

Hate Crime Hate Incident Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Swastikas, Blasphemies, and Anti-Salvini Graffiti on Asola Church

July 23, 2020, Italy

The parishioners of the church San Rocco in Asola discovered vandalism on the outside wall of the church, after they left Mass on the morning of July 24th. Unknown perpetrators painted black graffiti on the wall with a swastika symbol, blasphemous phrases, and anti-Salvini insults. The police and the priest of the church were immediately informed and the police filled a report.

Equality Legislation in Malta Threatens Freedom of Religion; Conscience; Expression

July 22, 2020, Malta

Proposed Equality Bills 96 and 97 are ostensibly aimed at protecting an extensive group of people from discrimination and cover areas such as schools, public religious symbols, and services and employment. The Bills would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, age, religious belief, state of health, and other “protected characteristics.” However, many sectors of society, including educators, professionals, business owners, health workers, parents, faith-based groups, and believers are concerned about the laws' overreach.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Equality Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws Rights of Parents

Church Site Vandalized Causing 5,000 Euros in Damage

July 21, 2020, Germany

On July 21st, unknown perpetrators vandalized the entire area surrounding the Protestant city church of Groß-Gerau. Yellow graffiti was sprayed on walls, wooden benches, a parking sign and wall pillars causing an estimated damage of 5,000 Euros. The police ares investigating the incident and asked the public for help identifying the vandals.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Suspicious Fire in Ligugé Abbey

July 21, 2020, France

A fire was discovered on July 20, 2020, just before midnight, in the building used as a laundry room at the Abbey Saint-Martin de Ligugé. According to firefighters, about 20 of the 100 m2 were destroyed. One person was detained and questioned. No charges have been announced.

"Fake Mass" Filmed and Vandalism in Maccagno

July 21, 2020, Italy

The police of Maccagno suspect a small group of young people to have entered the church of Our Lady of the Point through a half-opened door during the night of July 21st. They took liturgical vestments from the sacristy and climbed onto the altar to "celebrate Mass" on it. The vandals later moved to the shore of the lake where they, after drinking bottles of beer, left the empty beer carton on the head of the statue of the Virgin Mary. Videos of the "fake Mass" appeared on social media and the police began an investigation.

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

Vandals Smashed Four Windows of the Church of Großweitzschen

July 20, 2020, Germany

An employee of the parish of the church of Großweitzschen discovered on July 21st that four stained glass panes of the door on the organ tempore had been smashed the day before. Reports indicate that this is not the first time the church has been the victim of vandalism.

Vandalism of Virgin Mary Statue in Alt-Schwallbach Chapel

July 20, 2020, Germany

Between July 19th and 20th an unknown perpetrator cut off and stole the hands of the statue of the Virgin Mary in a chapel in Alt-Schwallbach. Local Catholics are shocked, as the vandalism contains a mysterious detail, the vandal supposedly took the cut off hands with him/her, as they could not be found in- or outside the chapel. The police is investigating the case.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Statue of the Virgin Mary Decapitated in Montaud

July 20, 2020, France

Unknown perpetrators decapitated a statue of the Virgin Mary in Montaud, an important monument for the local community with valuable symbolism. The mayor of the city Joel Raymond discovered the damage and filed a complaint.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Abbess of German Benedictine Convent Charged for Granting Church Asylum

July 20, 2020, Germany

The abbess of the German Benedictine convent Maria Frieden in Kirchschletten faced criminal charges for granting church asylum. The trial against Mother Mechthild Thürmer before the Bamberg District Court was scheduled for July 31. The abbess of the monastery in Upper Franconia had taken in an Eritrean woman in fall of 2018, who was to be deported to Italy. She disputed a penalty order for "aiding and abetting an illegal stay", combined with a fine of 2,500 euros, arguing for freedom of conscience.

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

Anarchist Tags on the Church of Saint Clement in Nantes

July 19, 2020, France

On July 19th, just a day after the fire at the cathedral in Nantes, the priest of the Fraternité Saint-Pierre serving the Saint-Clément church in Nantes discovered anarchist tags sprayed on the front of the church.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)