All cases

Statue of Sainte-Barbe Smashed

April 17, 2019, France

A statue of the patron saint of miners and firefighters was removed from its glass case in a square in front of a church in the small town of Belle-Roche (Cocheren) and smashed to the ground by unknown vandals.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Anti-Catholic Graffiti Sprayed on Galicia Church

April 14, 2019, Spain

On the morning of Palm Sunday, the priest and parishioners discovered graffiti sprayed on the outside of the Meside (Ourense) church. "Borregos" ("sheep"), "La religión es el opium del pueblo" ("Religion is the opiate of the people"), "Por la república" (For the republic"), a cross in a circle with a line through it, and leftist symbols were among the messages on the church.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Sacred Objects and Keys Stolen from Mödling Church

April 13, 2019, Austria

Unknown perpetrators stole a chalice, two ciboria, and a monstrance from the tabernacle, as well as all the keys in the sacristy from the parish church in Biedermannsdorf (district of Mödling) on ​​the evening of April 13th.

Theft

Pro-Life Student Group Challenges Student Union Ban

April 12, 2019, United Kingdom

In April 2018, the pro-life student university group Aberdeen Life Ethics Society submitted an application for affiliation to Aberdeen University's Societies Union (AUSA) but was denied due to AUSA's policy which required the union to give “no funding, facilitation, or platform” to any pro-life group and forbids the “unreasonable display” of pro-life material on campus. Aberdeen Life Ethics Society has taken legal action against the University and AUSA claiming unlawful discrimination and the violation of equality rights protected by UK law.

Equality Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

Vandalism in Nienborg Church

April 11, 2019, Germany

According to a police press release, unknown perpetrators set a brochure on fire and poured wax on an altar cloth in the church in Nienborg. An investigation was opened.

Tabernacle Broken and Hosts Stolen from Montluçon Church

April 9, 2019, France

When the sacristan came to close the church of Saint-Pierre in Montluçon on the evening of April 9th, he discovered that the tabernacle had been broken open and the ciborium containing consecrated hosts had been stolen. Monsignor Laurent Percerou, Bishop of Moulins said "This act, which touches us in the heart of our faith, is a terrible and dramatic act."

Desecration Theft

Cemetery Restoration Includes System to Obscure Christian Symbols

April 8, 2019, Italy

The municipal council of Pieve di Centro in Bologna approved a proposal to install a motorized curtain system in the unconsecrated cemetery chapel to temporarily cover Christian symbols and tombs inside the chapel during ceremonies for non-Christians. The decision generated controversy, with some commentators criticizing the lack of transparency about the project, noting that the public had not been consulted and that construction of another, non-denominational space had not been considered or discussed.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Fire Set in Doorway of Evangelical Church in Naples

April 8, 2019, Italy

In the early morning hours of April 8th, an unknown arsonist set fire to the door of the church of Nuova Pentecoste Gesù ritorna in Naples. Security cameras captured video of a man removing a bottle containing flammable liquid, sprinkling the liquid in front of the church door, and setting it on fire. The door and facade of the church were damaged, but the fire did not spread to the inside.

Hate Crime

Vandalism in Parish Hall

April 7, 2019, Germany

Vandals ransacked the restrooms in the parish hall of the Catholic church of St. Leodegar Oberschopfheim (Friesenheim) causing an estimated €5,000 in damage. Toilet bowls and the sink were smashed, stall doors pulled from their hinges, and glass from broken windows and bottles was scattered everywhere. Lighting along the passage between the church and the parish hall was also destroyed.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Repeated Vandalism in Coesfeld Church

April 5, 2019, Germany

There were several reported incidents of vandalism in and around St.-Johannes-Kirche in Bösensell in late March and early April. A windowpane was smashed and wax was poured on the altar and on the sanctuary (chancel) lamp. Lightning rods were torn from the facade of the church, and tools were used to try to break into the Poor Clares donation box. Brochures, prayer books, and tea lights were scattered around the church, including in the holy water basin. Glass bottles containing holy water were smashed to pieces.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church of Saint-Etienne Vandalized, Hosts Desecrated in the Vendée

April 4, 2019, France

According to a statement from the mayor of Bois-de-Céné, on April 4th vandals attempted to force open the wooden door of the tabernacle in the church of Saint-Etienne and when they were unsuccessful, they tore its bottom from the wall to take the consecrated hosts. The hosts were later found on the ground. The perpetrators, who the mayor said "it appears were teenagers" also stole holy water and urinated behind the organ. The municipality condemned the acts and filed a complaint with the police.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Priest Calls Church Rampage "Spiritual Anarchism"

March 23, 2019, Austria

Unknown perpetrators entered the parish church in Leoben sometime between 11am and 2pm on March 23rd and urinated on the altar, dumped out holy water, rearranged candlesticks and pews, tore the wiring for the sound system out of the wall, draped the pew cushions on top of the altar and laid the cordons on top of them. Fifty tea lights which had been placed next to a statue of the Virgin Mary were stolen and thrown into an empty fountain 100 meters from the church.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Report Calls Swedish Asylum Process for Converts a "Complete Lottery"

March 20, 2019, Sweden

A study analyzing the asylum claims from 2015-2018 of 619 Afghan converts to Christianity outlined serious shortcomings in the Swedish Migration Board's process. 68% of the converts were denied asylum on the grounds that their conversions were not deemed to be "genuine," despite all of them being baptized members of 76 churches in 64 locations across Sweden. The report noted that the Migration Board emphasized knowledge-based answers to questions and intellectual ability, rather than evidence of belief, religious practice, and involvement in church life.

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

UK Home Office Rejected Christian's Asylum Claim by Quoting Bible

March 19, 2019, United Kingdom

An Iranian man who converted to Christianity after discovering it was a peaceful religion in contrast to Islam had his asylum claim rejected by the Home Office on March 19th. In a rejection letter from the Home Office, passages with violent imagery from the Bible including Matthew, Revelation, and Exodus were used to argue that the claimant's claim about Christianity was false. “These examples are inconsistent with your claim that you converted to Christianity after discovering it is a ‘peaceful religion’ as opposed to Islam, which contained violence and rage,” the letter read. The Home Office later said the letter was "not in accordance with our policy approach to claims based on religious persecution" and agreed to reconsider the application.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Religion

Arson Attempted Twice in Senigallia Cathedral

March 19, 2019, Italy

An unidentified person set fire to the altar tablecloth in the chapel near the cathedral entrance. At about 8:30 a.m. on March 19th, parishioners and a priest noticed flames and smoke coming from a chapel altar and immediately extinguished the fire. The priest then reviewed surveillance footage and observed a man entering the cathedral and setting fire to linens in a different part of the church, as well. The police were called and began an investigation, noting that there were signs of forced entry on several doors.

Desecration Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Fire Deliberately Set in Saint-Sulpice Church in Paris

March 17, 2019, France

On Sunday, March 17th, the church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris had to be evacuated after a large fire broke out in the entryway. The large wooden door of the southern transept was engulfed in flames and severely damaged, as was the stained glass window above it. Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to prevent it from spreading to the rest of the church. On March 18th, investigators announced that the fire was not accidental in origin, but had been deliberately started.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Statue of Jesus Damaged by Vandals in Katowice

March 17, 2019, Poland

Sometime during the night of March 16th to 17th, unknown vandals damaged the crucifix outside the church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Koszutka, a district of Katowice (Najświętszego Serca Pana Jezusa w Koszutce). Reports indicate that stones were likely thrown at the statue of Jesus, breaking the legs and arms.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Desecration at Basilica in Charente-Maritime

March 16, 2019, France

The Basilica of Saint-Eutrope de Saintes in the Charente-Maritime department of southwestern France was desecrated on March 16th when consecrated hosts were stolen by unknown thieves. The diocese announced that a reparation Mass would be held.

Desecration Theft

Break-ins, Theft, and Desecration in Málaga Churches

March 14, 2019, Spain

The diocese of Málaga reported the theft of two ciboria containing consecrated hosts from la Iglesia de la Trinidad en Antequera on March 11th. In a statement, the diocese stressed that this was a "profanation of extreme gravity that deeply offends the Catholic faith." The vicar of the parish called on the thieves to "return the ciboria and repent for the theft." Two days later, in the early morning hours of March 13th, police noticed the entrance to the chapel of the Sagrada Familia in El Copo had been forced open and the sacristy had been damaged.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Offensive Messages Painted on Cathedral of Santiago

March 12, 2019, Spain

The Cathedral of Santiago was targeted by vandals during the early morning hours of March 12th. Messages sprayed in black paint on the facade and in various areas of the basilica ranged from anti-Church ("Yo no salí de tu costilla, tú saliste de mi coño" and "Machitos")" to anti-royal ("Guillotina Borbones"), and against the Santiago Abascal party ("Gritaremos hasta quedarnos sin Vox"). The cost to remove the graffiti is unknown, but could be in the tens of thousands of euros.

Violent Attacks against Pro-Life Prayer Vigils in Manchester and Nottingham

March 12, 2019, United Kingdom

Police began a public order offense investigation on March 12th in Manchester after an angry individual screamed obscenities at elderly members of the 40 Days for Life group and sent chairs and leaflets flying outside an abortion clinic. A day earlier, in Nottingham, three people praying outside a medical centre were accosted by a man who swore at them and threw a jug of lumpy yellow liquid at them. Police began an investigation for assault as well as a hate crime motivated by the victims' religious beliefs.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression Hate Crime

Priest Assaulted in Marseille

March 12, 2019, France

A Dominican priest was with a group of high school students giving coffee to a homeless person when he was grabbed by the throat from behind by a stranger. The man then released the priest and said "I will not shake your hand." The priest was unhurt but shocked by the incident. He reported the incident because he thought he had been targeted because of his religious dress.

Hate Crime Hate Incident

Police Investigate Series of Thefts from Churches in Vienne

March 12, 2019, France

Churches in the region of Vienne were the victims of theft from February 27th to March 12th. A ciborium was stolen from the church of Naintré, candlesticks were stolen from a church in Dangé-Saint-Romain, three chalices and two ciboriums were stolen from a church in L'Isle-Jourdain, and liturgical objects were stolen from churches in Saint-Julien-l'Ars, Morthemer, Chauvigny, and Lussac-les-Chateaux. Police investigated whether these thefts were the work of an organized gang.

Theft

Strasbourg Church Ransacked

March 11, 2019, France

When the priest arrived at the church of Saint-Louis-de-la-Robertsau to prepare for the evening Mass, he discovered two fire extinguishers lying on the ground outside the church. When he entered, he found that they had been emptied, with the foam covering the pews and the walls. He then noticed that wax had been spilled on the altar and the Easter candle and wooden statue of Saint Joseph had been knocked over. The altar cloths were ripped, the crown detached from a statue of Christ, and a basin thrown into a confessional. Two weeks after the incident, authorities arrested five teenagers for the act.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church in Rivas Vaciamadrid Sprayed with Graffiti

March 8, 2019, Spain

La Iglesia de Santa Mónica de Rivas Vaciamadrid was vandalized by a radical feminist group with the phrases "Iglesia = muerte” (Church = death), “Muerte al patriarcado” (Death to the patriarchy), and “Pecadora y orgullosa” (Sinner and proud).

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

International Women's Day Strikers Disrupted Press Conference at Archdiocese

March 8, 2019, Spain

More than a dozen strikers disrupted a press conference on the XXIV edición de Las Edades del Hombre at the Archdiocese of Vallodolid, throwing pamphlets and, using megaphones, shouted slogans against religion in education and in favor of abortion.

Insult or Incitement

Pro-Abortion Banner Hung by Feminist Activists at Concathedral of Logroño

March 8, 2019, Spain

A banner reading "Os beberéis la sangre de nuestros abortos" ("You will drink the blood of our abortions") was discovered hanging on the gate in front of the Concatedral de Santa María de la Redonda in Logroño.

Insult or Incitement Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Robbery and Desecration in Charente Church

March 8, 2019, France

Sometime in the morning of March 8th, between the opening of the church at 8:55 and the first Mass at 9:55, the ciborium containing consecrated hosts and a chalice were stolen from the sacristy cupboard in the church of Saint-Barthélémy in Confolens, Charente. This was the eighth church in the Charente region hit by theft and vandalism since last February.

Desecration Theft

Theft of Liturgical Objects and Desecration at Saint-Maxime Church

March 8, 2019, France

A second church in Confolens (Charente) was the victim of burglary on March 8th. The priest discovered on March 9th that the church of Sainte-Maxime had been robbed the day before, at around the same time liturgical objects had been stolen from the church of Saint-Barthélémy in Confolens. Thieves stole two chalices, three ciboriums, one of which contained consecrated hosts and was taken from the tabernacle, a large candlestick, and the ornately-embroidered altar linen from Sainte-Maxime. The priest filed a complaint and estimates a loss of tens of thousands of euros.

Desecration Theft

Three Churches in La Coruña Painted with Feminist Graffiti

March 7, 2019, Spain

During the "8M" feminist demonstrations, churches in the Castrense, San Jorge, and the church of Santo Tomás were all targeted with graffiti such as "Libres y combativas, 8M," "La iglesia que más ilumina es la que más arde" (The church that illuminates the most is the one that burns the most), and "Pederastas."

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church in Alsace Tagged with Satanic Graffiti; Windows Broken

March 6, 2019, France

Parishioners of the Catholic church of Reichstett (Bas-Rhin) discovered that one of the century-old stained glass windows, as well as all of the windows of the adjoining restrooms. "666" and "Satan" were found sprayed on the walls. The town's mayor called it an attack on religious freedom.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Anarchist and Communist Graffiti on Public Cross

March 5, 2019, Spain

A purple anarchist "A" symbol and a hammer and sickle were sprayed on la Cruz de los Caídos de Revilla de Camargo (Cantabria) by unknown vandals.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Protestant Church Vandalized in Neuwiller-lès-Saverne (Alsace)

March 5, 2019, France

Vases were broken, papers scattered, and the contents of a garbage bag including soiled diapers was spilled on and around the altar of the church of Neuwiller-lès-Saverne, according to Christian Albecker, president of l'UEPAL (Union of Protestant Churches of Alsace and Lorraine).

Police call Skegness Church Fire Arson

March 5, 2019, United Kingdom

St. Matthew's Church was badly damaged by a fire in the early morning hours of March 5th. The Lincolnshire police said it was intentionally set and treated it as an arson investigation. It appears the fire began in the shed adjacent to the church, and was one of several fires set in the town that evening.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Sex Education Guidelines May Interfere with Parents' Rights

March 4, 2019, United Kingdom

New "relationships and sex education" (RSE) guidance published on February 25th requires schools to teach primary and secondary school children about LGBT relationships and may not permit parents to opt-out. Parents of primary school children are permitted to withdraw their children from the sex education component of RSE, but the relationships component would be mandatory.

Rights of Parents

Organ and Stained Glass Windows Heavily Damaged at the Basilica of Saint-Denis

March 3, 2019, France

The organist of the Basilica Saint-Denis discovered that the doors of the 200-year-old organ had been broken and two stained glass windows had been smashed.

Vandals Broke Marble Railing in Gijón Church

March 2, 2019, Spain

During the day of March 2nd, unknown perpetrators entered the church of San José in Gijón and tipped over a heavy marble railing, breaking the structure.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Public Crucifix Vandalized in Carinthia

March 2, 2019, Austria

An arm from the Christ figure in a countryside crucifix was broken off by unknown vandals. Police are investigating.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church in Hochheim Vandalized

February 27, 2019, Germany

Three years after the arson in a confessional in the church St. Peter and Paul in Hochheim, one or more unidentified perpetrators damaged several hymnals, tore pages from the Gospel book on the side altar, and smashed the Easter candle. The stand containing religious literature was destroyed and holy water was dumped out.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Dublin Church Crypt Desecrated

February 25, 2019, Ireland

Vandals stole the head from an 800-year-old mummified body, known as “The Crusader” from the crypt of St. Michan's Church in Dublin. The crypt was badly damaged and several of the mummies, including the 400 year old remains of a nun, were desecrated in the incident.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Satanic Desecration in Chapels Near Franciscan Monastery in Katowice

February 23, 2019, Poland

Four rosary chapels in the calvary of Panevnicka in Katowice were desecrated by vandals who painted Satanic slogans and pentagrams on the doors and walls, as well as obscene drawings of male genitalia on the statues of holy figures including Jesus. Police as well as parishioners began a search for the perpetrators.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Street Preacher Arrested to "Prevent Breach of the Peace"

February 23, 2019, United Kingdom

An elderly man preaching at the Southgate Underground Station was arrested by London police after he refused to leave the area, telling him he was "disturbing people's days" and needed to go away. The police seized the man's Bible despite his pleas not to take it.

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

Christ Figure Beheaded in Saint-Gilles Church

February 23, 2019, France

On February 23rd, the bas-relief on the altar of the Saint-Gilles church in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie was vandalized, with the Christ figure beheaded.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Arson Confirmed in Hellenthal Church Fire

February 21, 2019, Germany

Over 120 firefighters worked for hours to extinguish a fire at the Evangelischen Kirche in Hellenthal on February 21st. The fire began in the half-timbered church annex and spread to the roof of 18th century church. A firewall prevented further damage to the church itself, and the nave and valuable church books were saved. Police estimated damage at several hundred thousand euros and confirmed on February 26, 2019 that the cause of the fire was arson and have continued their investigation.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism at Montevaccino Church

February 19, 2019, Italy

Paving stones were thrown at the windows of the nave of the church of San Leonardo, a crucifix on nearby private property was destroyed, and the lantern for the memorial to the fallen of all wars was smashed.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Historic Church Sprayed with Graffiti

February 19, 2019, Italy

The 12th century church of Santi Pietro e Paolo Castello Roganzuolo (Treviso) was marred with tags of marijuana leaves, insults to police, and the names of Italian hip-hop artists in green spray paint on the outer walls.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Exclusion Zone Legislation Passed in Ireland

February 18, 2019, Ireland

At a meeting of Louth County Council on February 18, 2019, a motion to prohibit any pro-life vigils within 500 meters of a hospital or clinic that provides abortion services was passed by a majority vote. Health Minister Simon Harris has called for such exclusion zones throughout Ireland.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Vandals Leave Alvito Church without Electricity

February 17, 2019, Italy

Using super glue, unidentified vandals damaged the wires in the electrical meter in the Chiesa di San Simeone Profeta, leaving the church without power and stopping the historic bell tower clock that had recently been restored.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Iraqi Christian Attacked in Berlin for Christian Tattoo

February 16, 2019, Germany

A man in Berlin-Neukölln was beaten and threatened with a knife because of his Christian tattoo. The 27-year-old Christian from Iraq was approached by two men and asked about his religious tattoo. They also and demanded that he give a donation to a beggar. When he refused, the men punched him in the face, according to police. When the attacker pulled out a knife, the victim and his companion escaped into a shop and called the police. The police arrested a 24-year old Muslim man. The investigation continues.

Hate Crime

Two Churches in Ávila Vandalized with Graffiti

February 10, 2019, Spain

"The church that illuminates is the one that burns" and other anarchist and feminist slogans and symbols were painted on two churches in small towns in Ávila. The Diocese of Ávila denounced the acts as attacks not only on the heritage of the small towns, but against mutual respect and religious freedom. A complaint was filed with the police.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)