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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
An arm from the Christ figure in a countryside crucifix was broken off by unknown vandals. Police are investigating.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
In the late afternoon of February 10th, the priest of Saint-Nicolas de Maisons-Laffitte discovered that the church's tabernacle had been thrown to the ground. The police arrested a 35-year-old man who confessed.
On February 9th, the church of Notre-Dame de Dijon was desecrated by unidentified perpetrators. The tabernacle was opened, consecrated hosts were scattered, the altar cloth stained, and a missal was torn. A Mass of Reparation was held by the Archbishop.
Between February 6th and 8th, four churches in the Baden-Württemberg region were victims of theft from offertory boxes: two churches in Rheinhausen, a church in Sasbach, and a church in Wyhl. Police are investigating.
The local cemetery in Kamień Krajeński was devastated by vandals sometime between January 29th and February 6th. Nine tombstones were damaged, crosses were overturned, vases for flowers destroyed, and the arm of a statue of Christ was broken off the grave of a deceased priest. The priest of the local church said it was desecration of a place of worship. Police were alerted and began an investigation.
The prosecutor's office in Nîmes opened an investigation after severe desecration was discovered in the church of Notre-Dame des Enfants. A cross was drawn on a wall with excrement on which pieces of consecrated hosts were stuck. The tabernacle was broken and other consecrated hosts were destroyed.
On the evening of February 5th, a strong smell of smoke alerted the secretary of the parish of Lavaur to a fire in the cathedral. When the firefighters arrived, only the altar cloth and the crèche had been consumed, but a cross was on the ground, along with a broken candle. The arm of Christ on a cross had also been twisted.
A wooden crucifix located between Hèches and Avezac-Prat-Lahitte, in the municipality of Labastide, was discovered vandalized on February 5th. The perpetrators cut the cross one meter off the ground and left it there. When it fell, the Christ figure's arm was broken. The mayor ordered an investigation.
On January 29th, a Christ figure carrying a cross was thrown to the ground in the choir of the church of Saint-Nicolas. A few days later, on February 1st, the arms from the figure were broken. On February 4th, a statue of the Virgin and Child was attacked and shattered on the ground.
The tabernacle was broken and the ciborium containing consecrated hosts was stolen from the church of Saint-Pierre de Talmont (Vendée) on February 3rd.
Before Sunday Mass on February 3rd, it was discovered that someone had broken into the tabernacle in the chapel of Sainte-Anne in Notre-Dame-et-Saint Junien Church in Lusignan, scattered the hosts, and stolen the ciborium where the hosts were stored. The police were called and began an investigation.
Over the course of several months, statues have been pushed to the ground and broken into a thousand pieces, stones have been thrown at the stained glass windows, and the stoups and Christmas crèches have been damaged in two churches, Saint-Gilles and Sainte-Croix, in the parish of Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie in the Vendée. Similar damage has occurred in the neighboring town of Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez.
The church "Am Heiligenhäuschen" was smeared with paint by unknown vandals late in the evening of February 2nd. Police are investigating.
The exterior wall of the colegio de la Trinidad in Vistalegre was painted with vulgar anti-church graffiti. This school, whose interior houses a chapel, belongs to the Diocesan Teaching Foundation of Santos Mártires de Córdoba.
A 33-year-old Syrian man was arrested for the murder of his sister's lover, a 25-year-old Christian Iraqi. The prosecutor said the background of the crime may have been that the victim and accused belong to different religions and probable motive was that the accused, a Muslim, did not approve of his sister living with an "infidel."
On the 14th of January, the Diocesan House of Grenoble hosted a pro-life event which drew a few hundred protesters. Between the 14th and 19th of January, graffiti was sprayed on the outer walls of the house and then between January 19th and 21st, its glass windows and doors were smashed.
A window in the back of the Evangelical church of St. Simeon in Minden was smashed during the night of January 17th by unknown perpetrators.
The church, whose frame was made of wood, was completely destroyed in a fire during the night of January 16th to 17th. When the firefighters arrived on site at 2:30 am, the church was already totally engulfed, and they could only prevent the flames from spreading to neighboring buildings. A hundred people had to be evacuated. The investigation indicated that the fire had started with a short circuit in the electrical system, however, an anarcho-libertarian blog post claimed responsibility.
The exterior wall of the colegio de Santa Victoria of the Madres Escolapias, a private Catholic school, was spray painted with phrases such as "Death to Fascism," "School is Jail," as well as an 'anarcho-feminist' symbol.
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.
"The true martyrs are in the sea" was painted on the wall of the church of San Rocco in Rovereto as the signature of the vandals who threw an incendiary device at the church, setting fire to the door. The attack appears to have been in response to a controversial nativity scene set up to "raise awareness of the tragedy of abortion which condemns children to a real martyrdom."
Asher Samson, a Pakistani Christian who fought to stay in the UK after allegedly being beaten and repeatedly threatened with execution by Islamic extremists in Pakistan, was deported back to Pakistan on January 9th. Samson, backed by thousands of Christians, attempted to persuade the UK government to allow him to stay after being threatened with execution by Islamic extremists in his home country.