All cases

Arson and Destruction at Churches on Chios

November 10, 2019, Greece

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

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

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

November 9, 2019, France

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

Freedom of Religion

Two Fires Set in Lleida Church

November 8, 2019, Spain

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

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

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

November 5, 2019, Finland

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

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Victory for Christian Refugees at European Court of Human Rights

November 5, 2019, France

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

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

'Battering Ram' Night-Raid Robbery at French Cathedral

November 4, 2019, France

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

Desecration Hate Crime Hate Incident Theft

Self-Described Satanist Vandalized 100 Graves in Cognac Cemetery

October 30, 2019, France

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

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

Parish Church Cemetery Vandalized in Zabrzu-Helence

October 27, 2019, Poland

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

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Fire Set in Neapolitan Basilica

October 10, 2019, Italy

The parish priest of the Basilica of San Giovanni Maggiore in Naples has condemned the fire set in the church's musician's chapel, known as the Ecce Homo. The fire had spread to the altar when firefighters were able to extinguish it.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Berlin Pregnancy Counseling Center Ransacked by Activists

October 6, 2019, Germany

Radical feminists claimed responsibility for breaking into the Pro Femina crisis pregnancy center in Berlin during the night of October 5-6. They smashed the windows on the third floor, smeared a hallway with paint and butyric acid (a foul smelling chemical) and the slogan "Pro Choice!", and glued closed the locks.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Legal Extension of IVF Met with Staunch Opposition in France

October 6, 2019, France

Tens of thousands of French protestors took to the streets of Paris on October 6th to protest the draft bioethics law which passed the lower house of parliament on September 25th. The bill would, amongst other provisions, allow all women under 43 the right to "medically assisted procreation," including in-vitro fertilization (IVF), regardless of their relationship status, or sexual orientation. Currently, French law only allows access to IVF to heterosexual couples unable to have children through natural means, who are either married, or who have lived together for two years.

Equality Militant Equality Laws Rights of Parents

Córdoba Church Broken into; Consecrated Hosts Scattered on Altar

October 5, 2019, Spain

Before dawn on October 5th, one or more intruders entered the 18th century Chapel of La Rosa in the Córdoba provincial town of Montilla through a side door. Once inside, they found the keys to the tabernacle, opened the pyx inside and scattered several hosts on the altar, according to the Rev. José Félix García, pastor of the parish of Santiago, to which the chapel belongs. Police opened an investigation.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Safety Fears for Iranian Convert to Christianity Facing Threat of Deportation

October 4, 2019, Germany

An Iranian Christian woman living in the state of Hesse in Germany fears for her life if she is forced to return to Iran, due to strict anti-conversion laws. The woman known as "Mahsa" fled Iran and traveled to Germany in 2015, after an attempted arrest by the religious police for her conversion to Christianity. A recent decision by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) denying her asylum limits Mahsa's options going forward.

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

Tribunal Rules Biblical View of Sexes "Incompatible with Human Dignity"

October 2, 2019, United Kingdom

A Christian doctor has lost an employment tribunal case, where he alleged that the Department of Work and Pensions breached his freedom of thought, conscience and religion pursuant to the Equality Act. Disability assessor, Dr. David Mackereth claimed discrimination on part of the Department of Work and Pensions for failing to accommodate his refusal to use pronouns which did not correspond with the biological sex of clients. In its decision, the panel stated that Dr. Mackereth's belief that "the Bible teaches us that God made humans male or female" was "incompatible with human dignity."

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

Christian Actress Sues after being Fired for Biblical Facebook Post

September 30, 2019, United Kingdom

In March 2019, a Christian West End actress, Seyi Omooba, was removed from a leading role in a musical and dropped from her agency for a Facebook post about homosexuality citing the Bible over four years earlier. With representation by the Christian Legal Centre, she launched a legal challenge on September 30th against Leicester Curve Theatre and her agency, Global Artists, for breach of contract and anti-Christian discrimination.

Contractual Freedom Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Medical Professionals Call for Conscience Safeguards if Northern Ireland Liberalizes Abortion Law

September 28, 2019, United Kingdom

Northern Ireland Minister received correspondence from more than 700 medical practitioners calling for conscience protections which would allow Christians and conscientious objectors within the profession the statutory right to refuse to participate in abortions.

Contractual Freedom Equality Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience

Marseille Crucifix Vandalized for Fifth Time in Four Months

September 26, 2019, France

The crucifix monument on the grounds of the Saint-Patrice church in the Croix-Rouge district of Marseille, was found vandalized with red paint on September 26th. It was the fifth time since the middle of May 2019 that the Christ figure had been defaced with red or blue paint. Public employees removed the paint and Marseille public officials denounced the vandalism.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Saarland Government Denies Asylum to 400 Assyrian Christians

September 25, 2019, Germany

The Saarland Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) rejected the request of the Assyrian Cultural Association Saarlouis allow about 400 Syrian Christians from the conflict-torn region of Northern Syria on the Khabur River to enter Saarland. Despite offers of respite and assistance from the existing Assyrian community in the German federal state, the government said it would only admit five refugees.

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

Trial Began for 2016 Ramadan Attack on Christian Refugee

September 24, 2019, Germany

The trial of a 26-year-old Afghan who was charged with committing serious bodily injury against a Christian convert at the Rottacher Traglufthalle asylum accommodation in 2016 began on September 24th.

Freedom of Religion Hate Crime Hate Incident Insult or Incitement

Italian Court Ruling Opens the Door For Assisted Suicide in Italy

September 24, 2019, Italy

After surviving a 2014 car accident which resulted in tetraplegic paralysis and blindness, Italian disc Jockey Fabiano Antoniani (DJ Fabo) traveled to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland to end his life. The subsequent ruling of the Italian Constitutional Court over proceedings made against his accomplice now opens the door for the legalization of assisted suicide in Italy.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Conscience