All cases

UK Court agrees to hear Challenge to Ban on Pro-Life Prayer Outside Abortion Center

January 11, 2019, United Kingdom

A British court has ruled that a pro-life activist may challenge a legal decision banning prayer and support for women in crisis pregnancies outside a Marie Stopes clinic.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Strasbourg Christmas Market Shooting Declared Terrorism

December 11, 2018, France

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

Hate Crime

Protests Against Polish Radio Maryja on its Anniversary

December 1, 2018, Poland

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

Anti-Discrimination Law Expanded in Switzerland

November 28, 2018, Switzerland

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

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Militant Equality Laws

Vulgar Graffiti Sprayed On The Facade Of Church

November 28, 2018, Spain

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

22 Statues on the Avenue of Saints Destroyed

November 25, 2018, Poland

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

Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

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

November 25, 2018, Italy

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Historic Cornwall Church the Target of Arson

November 24, 2018, United Kingdom

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

Hate Crime Hate Incident Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Arson in Funeral Chapel

November 21, 2018, Germany

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

Hate Crime Hate Incident Vandalism (form of hate crime)

War Memorial and Church Defaced in Scotland

November 17, 2018, United Kingdom

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Persistent Littering and Vandalism in front of Cosenza Church

November 17, 2018, Italy

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Miniature Model of Church Destroyed and Offertory Box Looted

November 15, 2018, Germany

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Prosecutors Believe Hague Stabbing in May Targeted Christians and Jews

November 14, 2018, Netherlands

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

Hate Crime

Theft and Desecration of Madrid Church

November 13, 2018, Spain

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

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

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

November 13, 2018, Germany

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

British Government Denies Asia Bibi Asylum for Fear of Community Unrest

November 9, 2018, United Kingdom

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

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

Vandalism in the Church of Sainte Croix

November 7, 2018, France

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Historic Forest Church Heavily Damaged by Vandalism

November 6, 2018, Italy

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism at Wallyford Church

November 5, 2018, United Kingdom

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism to Parish Church

November 4, 2018, Germany

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Parish Church Vandalized

November 2, 2018, Germany

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

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Desecration of Church in French Guiana

November 2, 2018, France

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

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Offensive Graffiti and Vandalism in Church

November 2, 2018, Germany

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Shocking Graffiti on Pietà

November 1, 2018, Germany

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Over 100 Windows Smashed at Church in Ireland

October 31, 2018, Ireland

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Obscene Vandalism on Salerno Church

October 31, 2018, Italy

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

Insult or Incitement Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Three Windows of Village Church Destroyed

October 30, 2018, Germany

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christian Group Ordered to Pay for Extra Security at Oxford Event

October 29, 2018, United Kingdom

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

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

"Rainbow Friday" May Violate Polish Constitution and Education Law

October 26, 2018, Poland

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

Rights of Parents

Scottish Campaign calls Believers 'Bigots'

October 22, 2018, United Kingdom

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

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

Second Church Arson in a Month in Heroldsbach

October 21, 2018, Germany

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

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church in Yvelines Desecrated

October 16, 2018, France

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

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

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

October 10, 2018, Switzerland

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

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

Rifle Fire Damaged Stained Glass Windows of Church

October 8, 2018, France

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Cross Torn Down in Lesvos

October 7, 2018, Greece

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

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

Huge Metal Cross Torn Down

October 7, 2018, Germany

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

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Anti-Abortion GPs Argue Against Being Forced to Refer Patients

October 3, 2018, Ireland

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

Freedom of Conscience

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

October 2, 2018, Spain

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

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Elderly Priest Injured by Two Young Men

October 1, 2018, France

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

Hate Crime Theft

Abortion-Specific Conscience Clause Targeted by France Socialists

September 27, 2018, France

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

Freedom of Conscience

Ravensburg Church Arsonist Sentenced

September 25, 2018, Germany

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

Spanish Mayor Disguised Himself as Priest to Perform Civil Wedding

September 23, 2018, Spain

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

Insult or Incitement

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

September 21, 2018, Finland

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

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Explosion at Banquet Hall of Syrian Orthodox Church in Södertälje

September 19, 2018, Sweden

Police completed their forensic investigation of an explosion in an events hall owned by the St. Afrem Syrian Orthodox Church. The hall, rented from the church for events such as parties and wedding receptions, was empty at the time of the explosion. Police said they are still investigating who was behind the attack and the motives remain unclear.

Hate Crime Hate Incident

War Memorial Damaged at Catholic Church

September 18, 2018, Germany

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Assault on Priest and Attempted Robbery at Bulgarian Monastery

September 18, 2018, Bulgaria

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

Hate Crime Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

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

September 17, 2018, Sweden

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

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Arson in Bavarian Church

September 16, 2018, Germany

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

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Perpetrator Confesses to Arson of Evangelical Church

September 15, 2018, Austria

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

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Pro-Life Charity Banned from Three UK Universities

September 14, 2018, United Kingdom

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

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Unknown Vandals Damage Way of the Cross in Morbach

September 14, 2018, Germany

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Fire in the Church of Santa Maria della Roccella

September 9, 2018, Italy

A fire broke out in a basement of the cloister of the Church of Santa Maria della Roccella. The flames affected some unused materials and various forms of waste that had piled up in a basement of the cloister. The fire brigade intervened and found four LPG tanks near the fire which they removed and secured promptly. Fortunately there was no damage done to the building and no one was hurt. The police started an investigation and did not exclude arson as the cause of the fire.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Door of Church Burned in Santa Maria di Licodia

September 7, 2018, Italy

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Parish Church in Gutau Vandalized

September 7, 2018, Austria

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Chester Cathedral Damaged by Intruder

September 6, 2018, United Kingdom

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

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

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

September 6, 2018, United Kingdom

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Anarchist Graffiti on Monument to the Virgen del Rocío

September 5, 2018, Spain

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Chapel Vandalized in Péré

September 3, 2018, France

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

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

September 3, 2018, United Kingdom

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

Access to Justice and Legal Services

Catholic Bookstore Vandalized by Anarchists

September 3, 2018, France

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Graffiti on Valencia Church

September 1, 2018, Spain

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Repeated Vandalism in Ansbach Churches

August 31, 2018, Germany

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

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Spanish TV Cuts Holy Mass Broadcasts

August 30, 2018, Spain

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

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

Man Arrested for Fires at Methodist Church and Sikh Temple

August 29, 2018, United Kingdom

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

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Stones Thrown at Lutheran Church

August 29, 2018, Germany

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Man Sentenced to Prison for Terrorist Threats against Reims Cathedral

August 28, 2018, France

On the night of the 21st of July 2018 after the light show "Rêve de Couleurs," on the facade of the cathedral, a drunk individual shouted "Allahu Akbar! Long live Daech! I will butcher you!" at all the people he met in front of the cathedral. He further threatened: "I'm going to attack! I'm going to blow up the cathedral!" A passerby who tried to interfere was slapped. The perpetrator has been identified as 19-year-old Tony Brébant from Reims who recently converted to Islam. He was sentenced to fourteen months in prison on the 28th of August 2018.

Image of Madonna Defaced

August 26, 2018, Italy

There was an act of vandalism in the small church of Madonna Addolorata di Lopi in the municipality of Castiglione del Lago on August 28th, 2018. The face of the Madonna in a seventeenth-century painting was smeared with black paint. In addition to that, the same paint was used to spray the small squares of the Via Crucis and blasphemous words were written on the walls of the church. The damage done to the painting of the Madonna cannot be repaired. The police were informed about the incident.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Offensive Graffiti on Information Panel of Church

August 26, 2018, Italy

Vandals wrote offensive slurs on the information panel on the facade of the church of Grottaglie.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Mayor Offers Reward to Catch Church Vandals

August 25, 2018, Italy

After tourists used black and red spray paint to deface the white wall of the 14th century church Madonna del Soccorso on the island of Ischia, the town's mayor offered a reward to 500 euros for anyone who provides useful information to find those responsible for the vandalism. This incident caused sadness and indignation among the people who live in the village.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Police Investigate Vandalism of Brussels Church

August 25, 2018, Belgium

The walls of Saint-Antoine de Padoue Church in the district of Forest in Brussels was sprayed with obscene graffiti during the summer holidays between mid-July and mid-August 2018. The house opposite was also vandalized. As of late August, the graffiti remained on the buildings, as the municipality was required to wait for authorization from the police before it could proceed with clean-up.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Fire Set in Mühlheim Church

August 23, 2018, Germany

Unknown persons started a fire in the church in Mühlheim on the 23rd of August, 2018. A parishioner found a damaged umbrella stand near the entrance of the church that evening. It appeared that the perpetrators pulled the umbrella stand into the church and started a fire with it. However, the fire was immediately extinguished. The damage amounted to about 150 euros. The police opened an investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Robbery at Church of Mondéjar

August 20, 2018, Spain

In the early hours of the 20th of August there was a robbery at the church Santa María Magdalena of Mondéjar. The parish priest discovered the theft when he went to the church the next morning to prepare for Mass. The thieves had entered the church through a side door after breaking the lock. They broke three other door locks until they were able to enter the sacristy. They left the sacristy looted and stole more than 400 euros as well as three large sacred artworks of bronze. The artifacts date back to the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. The civil guard was notified and investigated.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Statue of Virgin Mary and Child Decapitated on the Island of Noirmoutier

August 19, 2018, France

During the night of Saturday 18th to Sunday 19th of August, the 3.5 meter public statue of the Virgin Mary and Child was decapitated. Residents were shocked and searched the nearby forest for the missing heads but found nothing. Parishioners were dismayed, as the statue has stood in the community since 1949. The priest, who called the incident violent and shocking, filed a complaint at the police station.

Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

At Least Five Pakistani Priests Denied Visas for World Meeting of Families in Ireland

August 19, 2018, Ireland

Christians from Pakistan and Iraq were denied visas to attend the 2018 World Meeting of Families in Dublin, including at least 5 priests, due to "insufficient connections" to the event. A priest from Karachi received a letter rejecting his application in which the officer said there was "no evidence of a valid reason to travel to Ireland" and that the Catholic priest lacked "sufficient connection" to the World Meeting or to the Pope to justify attendance.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

Church Facade Defaced with "W l'Islam"

August 18, 2018, Italy

The newly renovated wall of the Chiesa del Santissimo Rosario in the center of Avellino was defaced with "W I'Islam" in black paint. The parish priest reported the incident to the police who will investigate whether there were religious or political motives behind this act of vandalism.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church in Badwell Ash Damaged by Pellets

August 18, 2018, United Kingdom

During the night between the 17th the 18th of August there was a spate of vandalism in west Suffolk. According to the police, the unknown perpetrator damaged St Mary's Church in the village Badwell Ash and several vehicles in the area. It is believed that the offender used an BB or pellet air rifle to smash the church windows as well as 12 vehicles parked in the village. The police continued their investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Churches Close due to Vandalism and Drug Abuse

August 17, 2018, Germany

Three churches were closed in Euskirchen due to repeated vandalism and drug abuse. The Herz-Jesu-Kirche, the Martinskirche and the Kirche St. Matthias will only be opened for Mass for the rest of the summer holidays as a provisional measure. The altar of St. Martin's church was soiled with excrement and urine was found in the stoup for holy water.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church CCTV Damaged by Vandals

August 17, 2018, United Kingdom

Vandals damaged a CCTV camera from St. Mark's Parish Church in Raploch just one day after it was installed. The church had been subject to repeated acts of vandalism and a couple of CCTV cameras were installed in order to deter anti-social behavior. While one camera was damaged, the other cameras were already doing their job as they identified those responsible for the incident, enabling the police to trace them and take action.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Tourist Information for Italian Church Destroyed

August 16, 2018, Italy

Tourist information that explains the history of the Greek church of Santa Maria degli Angeli was knocked down and torn from the sidewalk. The church has repeatedly been subjected to acts of vandalism.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Bishop of Liège Threatened and Robbed at Home

August 15, 2018, Belgium

During the night between the 14th to the 15th of August, thieves broke into the bishop's home through a toilet window on the ground floor. They assaulted both Bishop Jean-Pierre Delville as well as his godson who was also present in the house. They demanded cash, believing that the money collected from the churches was kept there. Having no cash in the house, the bishop and his godson had to resort to the money the godson had kept saved up for a trip abroad. They further asked for gold and valuable paintings, a Picasso in particular. The bishop gave them three chalices and pointed them towards four pieces of art from the 17th century that decorated the council chamber. After hitting one of the victims and threatening to kill them, they locked the bishop and his godson in a bathroom, where they were found the next morning. The thieves were described as "masked and professional" and explained they needed money to cure the 5-year-old daughter of one of them. They spoke German, as well as an unidentified foreign language and only spoke French poorly. The damage has been estimated to amount to 20 000 euros. An investigation is ongoing.

Hate Crime Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vue Cinemas Breached Contract by Refusing to Screen 'Voices of the Silenced'

August 15, 2018, United Kingdom

After Vue Cinemas cancelled the screening of the film 'Voices of the Silenced' at the last minute in February, the film's producers launched a legal challenge against Vue. In August, Vue agreed to pay a nominal amount for breaching the contract. A spokesperson from Vue has said, however, that they stand by their decision of not screening the movie as it was "in direct conflict with its values." 'Voices of the Silenced' is a film by Christian organization Core Issues Trust about people who have left behind same-sex attraction practices.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

Man Arrested for Defacing Church

August 15, 2018, United Kingdom

A man was arrested after spraying graffiti on several buildings in Andover including St. Mary's Church where the anarchist symbol was painted on the church door and the number 666 was left in red on the steps outside. The incident is suspected to have taken place some time between the 8th of August and the early hours of the 10th of August.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Leftists Attack Group for Wearing Catholic University T-Shirts

August 14, 2018, Spain

On August 18th, national police arrested two members of an extreme left group for assaulting a group of young people because they did not like the T-shirts they wore, namely the shirts of the Catholic University San Antonio de Murcia. The incident occurred in one of the pubs in area of the university a few days earlier. The victims were first insulted, then threatened, and were finally attacked. One of the victims received stitches, suffering an ocular hemorrhage. The 19 and 28-year-old perpetrators from Spain and Brazil were identified by photographs and were already known to the police for their membership in ultra-left groups. They were charged with crimes against fundamental rights (hate crimes) and injuries.

Hate Crime

Arson Attack on Church in Rosolini

August 11, 2018, Italy

In the night from the 10th to the 11th of August there was an arson attack in the church of Santa Caterina da Siena in Rosolini. The back of the church structure was set on fire and the flames penetrated into the warehouse where plastic caps which were collected for the charity project "Stappiao la speranza" were stored. The funds resulting from the project were to be sent to the twin parish Butembo Beni in the Democratic Republic of Congo. More than 1,000 kilos of the caps went up in smoke and there was serious damage done to the church. The incident left the church perplexed and the Mayor and Prime Minister expressed their solidarity. The incident was reported to the police.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Man Arrested for Vandalism at Guernsey Church

August 10, 2018, United Kingdom

An 18-year-old man was arrested for vandalizing St. John's Church in St. Peter Port on Guernsey. The church had been smeared with graffiti and notes with 'obscene' messages of 'religious hate' were left. The incident left the vicar and churchgoers upset. The police began an investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Sacristy Broken into and Robbed in Carville

August 9, 2018, France

The sacristy of the church of Carville (Calvados) was robbed and various objects were stolen including candle sticks. The wooden door to the sacristy was broken. A complaint was filed with the police. 


Christ Statue Defaced

August 9, 2018, France

A public statue of Christ in Thonon-les-Bains was vandalized, with its face completely covered with black paint.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

No Syrian Christian Refugees Admitted in First Quarter 2018; Lord Alton Queries Home Secretary

August 7, 2018, United Kingdom

Not a single Christian was among the 1,112 Syrian refugees resettled in the UK in the first three months of 2018. In response to a Freedom of Information request from Barnabas Fund, the UK Home Office released figures on Syrian refugees resettled in the UK for the first quarter of 2018. The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) recommended 1,358 Syrian refugees for resettlement in the UK of which only 4 were Christians, representing a tiny fraction of just 0.29%. No Yazidis at all were recommended by the UN. The Home Office agreed to resettle 1,112 of these (82%), all of whom were Muslims, and approved no Christians.

Access to Justice and Legal Services

Fire Set to Syrian Orthodox Church in Norrköping

August 6, 2018, Sweden

St. Mary's Syrian Orthodox Church in Norrköping began to burn just after 2am on 6th of August. When rescue services arrived at the scene, there were open flames across the facade of the wooden church. 30 firemen from seven stations were able to get the fire under control by 3.40am. The police came to the conclusion that the fire was the result of arson when a fire dog found a flammable liquid on the scene, which technicians confirmed. The church was heavily damaged and it will take some time for it to be renovated. Members of the church, to which 1100 people belong, were upset and shocked. Police are searching for the perpetrator.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

"KISS" Graffiti on Facade of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

August 6, 2018, Spain

A 12th century sculpture on the facade of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela was painted to make the statue look like a member of American rock band KISS. The name "KISS" was also written across the body of the statue. The marble statue was restored the same afternoon and the police started looking for the perpetrator who, if found guilty, would face a fine of between 6,000 and 150,000 euros.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Four Fires Set in Saint-Pierre de Neuilly

August 5, 2018, France

On the 5th of August four fires were started in the parish church Saint-Pierre in Neuilly-sur-Seine at about 2:30 in the afternoon. They were noticed by two people who had been waiting for the bus on the Avenue du Roule but had entered the church to cool down. They smelled smoke and found fire at four different locations near the entrance. The passersby rushed to extinguish the flames with water to keep the fire from spreading. Fourteen firemen with three machines were called on site. The perpetrators had started the fires by setting flames to flyers and a prayer book. They had also left a piece of paper on a candle at the foot of a statue. No material damage was caused. The parish filed a complaint and the police started an investigation.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Jewelry Dedicated to the Virgin Mary Stolen from Church

August 5, 2018, Italy

The Church of Corlo di Formigine was robbed during the night between the 4th and 5th of August. The thieves took advantage of village celebration of the feast of la Madonna della Neve to steal golden chains, bracelets, and rings that had been donated by the faithful as a pledge to the Virgin Mary over the years. The jewelry was kept inside the reliquary which protects the fresco of the Virgin Mary and had been displayed in the church for the occasion of the festival. This act of vandalism has left the community upset.


Figure of Virgin Mary Damaged in Important Marian Shrine

August 3, 2018, Poland

The statue of the Virgin Mary in the small Shrine of Our Lady - the Teacher of Young People in Warsaw-Sierkierki was destroyed by vandals some time between August 2nd and 3rd. The perpetrators opened the glass case which protects the statue and damaged the statue. The shrine is important because of the Marian apparitions that appeared in the Siekierki region between 1943 and 1949. Police began an investigation and the parish held a reparation Mass for the vandalism and prayed for the conversion of the perpetrators.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Theft from Freto Church

July 30, 2018, Italy

Just a few days after a theft from the cathedral in Modena, two people, taking advantage of a deactivated alarm in the small church in Freto (Modena), stole a marble baptismal font. Although the theft was captured on surveillance cameras, the identity of the thieves was unclear. This was not the first theft from the isolated church and the nearby cemetery. The residents of the area were upset by the theft from the church.


Repeated Vandalism at Chiesa del Calvario

July 30, 2018, Italy

For the third summer in a row, unknown vandals broke into the ancient Chiesa del Calvario and destroyed objects. This year, they broke the hands of a 16th century statue of the Madonna and destroyed a second statue. The parish priest said the Catholic community was "horrified by vandalism towards statues of the Madonna, as well as the disfigurement of the heritage of the religious site." He called upon officials to investigate and take action to protect the site.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Man Vandalized Churches, then Fired Gun at Witness

July 30, 2018, Poland

A man was observed vandalizing two churches in Krakow with paint by a passerby. When the passerby tried to intervene, the man fled the scene. The man then returned with a gas pistol which he shot at the witness, but the witness was able to overpower the attacker and called the police. The man was charged with possession of an illegal weapon, as well as damage to the churches.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Elda Hospital Chapel Desecrated

July 28, 2018, Spain

At about 10pm on Saturday the 28th of July 2018, vandals broke open the tabernacle of the chapel of the Virgen de la Salud Hospital in Elda (Alicante) and stole the ciborium with the consecrated hosts. The ciborium was later found in the parking lot and the consecrated hosts were scattered around the entrance area of the hospital. Some were found lying on the sidewalk and trampled. The parishes in the area held acts of reparation for the desecration and to pray for the conversion of perpetrators. The police began an investigation.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Fire in Church; "Allahu Akbar" Sprayed on Walls

July 25, 2018, France

A fire was set in the church Saint-Pierre du Matroi in Orléans on the 25th of July. Sheet music was burned, furniture was damaged, and smears of graffiti were found on several walls, including one reading "Allahu Akbar." The fire brigade was able to intervene early enough to prevent further spread of the fire, thus preserving the support structure of the church. The police believe the fire was intentionally set.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Stones Stolen from Statue in Cathedral

July 25, 2018, Italy

Unknown thieves, likely taking advantage of renovation works, removed a protective case and stole stones from the pastoral cross on the ancient wooden statue of San Geminiano in the Duomo of Modena. While the stones have very little monetary value, they have tremendous historical value and the statue is sacred to the community because San Geminiano is the patron saint of Modena. The theft has been called 'sacriligious' and offensive to the religious feelings of the church and the entire city. Police began a forensic investigation.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandals Ransacked Church; Apologized to Priest

July 23, 2018, Spain

In the early hours of July 23rd, two young men broke into the town church of Adrados and destroyed everything they could, causing extensive damage -- up to €30,000. Shelves, books, and even the altar were tipped over, and paintings and figures were badly damaged. The Diocese of León filed a complaint with the Civil Guard, which immediately opened an investigation that focused on several young people who were in the mountain town that night. The perpetrators were identified and they "asked for forgiveness although they are aware of the consequences that resulted from their prank," according to the parish priest.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)