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.
Just days before the parliamentary vote on the election of a judge to the state constitutional court, the CDU, Greens, FDP and SSW withdrew their nomination of Hamburg lawyer and law professor Christian Winterhoff due to his conservative views on the sexual education of children.
Catholic and Protestant communities in Bulgaria have unified their efforts to prevent the adoption of two legislative proposals put before the parliamentary assembly in May 2018. The first, sponsored by the conservative GERB, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, would permit state subsidies only for major religious denominations. The second, tabled by the United Patriots, would require greater oversight of religious activities and financing.
The municipality of Rousse will expel the Third Evangelical Pentecostal Church claiming that it illegally occupies a municipal building. The announcement was made by councilors from the right wing party, International Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. After an inspection launched by the local authorities, it was decided that the place where worship services are held three times a week, would be closed.
The Canada Summer Jobs program funding application for 2018 requires that applicants sign a statement supporting, among other things, abortion and transgender rights in order to be eligible for funding. Hundreds of applicants, including Christian charities, pro-life groups, and churches have refused to sign the attestation because of the government's positions on moral issues.
The governing party announced the proposal on March 13, 2018, citing concerns about "systematic gender segregation and opinions that do not belong in Swedish schools." Although no examples of problems in Christian schools were cited, they would be included in the plan. Jewish schools would be exempted.
Lord Pearson of Rannoch posed the question to the British government: "Will they confirm unequivocally that a Christian who says that Jesus the only son of the one true God cannot be arrested for hate crime or any other offense?" The government's representative in the House of Lords refused to comment on the question.
The Berlin police reported that a 23-year-old man from Afghanistan was attacked and injured for wearing chain with a cross on it. He was approached by two men on evening of September 11, 2017 in Neukölln. According to the police report, he stated that the attackers had asked him why he had become a Christian. One of the two perpetrators tore the chain from the man's neck and beat him while the other held him down. The police called the incident "dangerous bodily harm" with a "religious background."
The Cypriot Orthodox Metropolis of Morphou was banned from holding its annual patron saint feast service. The ban was passed at the last minute and the official justification was that it was not possible to guarantee the safety of the Christian celebration because of the simultaneous Muslim festival of Kurban Bairam.
A Christian five-year-old girl was placed into foster care with a Muslim family in London. Confidential local authority reports suggest that the foster family removed the girl's Christian cross necklace, suggested she learn Arabic, and forbade her from eating pork. In addition, It was alleged that when she had a visit with her biological mother, the girl said that Christmas was “stupid” and European women are “stupid alcoholics”. The court having jurisdiction ruled on August 29, 2017 that the girl should be placed with her grandmother.
Sweden has rejected the asylum claim of Iranian Christian actress Aideen Strandsson and will deport her back to Iran, where she likely faces time in an Iranian prison -- or worse. In Iran, where it can be deadly to convert to Christianity, Strandsson kept her conversion largely a secret. But when she came to Sweden, she requested a public baptism. Iranian intelligence most likely is aware of her conversion and she has received threats on social media. Strandsson has said "I don't know what will happen to me, I know the punishment for me in Iran is death," she said. But "I have hope in Jesus, it's just the last hope I have in my life."
Justine Greening, who is also Education Secretary, said churches and other religious groups should “keep up” with public opinion on same-sex marriage.
Christian schools may soon be required to ensure that half of their students are from different religious backgrounds, due to concerns that Christian-only schools "heighten community divisions."
Several clashes broke out around July 22, 2017 at Lesbos Island’s Moria Camp for refugees, with Greek authorities arresting 35 Muslim rioters who threw large rocks at police officers and set fire to tents both inside and outside the bounds of the camp. A disabled Christian was nearly burnt alive while sleeping in one of the shelters. "Christians are being prevented from holding church services, worshiping and praying by their Muslim neighbors. Moreover, reports of tents being burned down, violence, bullying, harassment and severe threats paint a very bleak picture of the quality of life for Christians caught up within the camp," according to the British Pakistani Christian Association.
The Ministry of Education in Spain has proposed changing the Carnival and Easter Holidays to a week in late February and May respectively in order to remove the religious connections from the school holidays. This proposal is waiting to be ratified and implemented for the school year 2017/2018.
The Russian Supreme Court has ruled that Jehovah’s Witnesses are an “extremist” religious group and therefore they have outlawed them. A Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesperson has stated that the group is “greatly disappointed by this development and deeply concerned about how this will affect our religious activity”. A spokesman of a Russian Baptist Evangelical union had defined the de-legalisation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as an “unreasonable and dangerous step.” The Ministry of Justice “is beginning to distinguish between proper and improper believers. What will prevent these same officials tomorrow from condemning, say, the Evangelical Christians-Baptists, (Orthodox) Old Believers or Catholics? I think this approach is fundamentally wrong”, Vitaly Vlasenko, of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists said.
“La Madrugá”, the Easter procession during the night from Maundy Thursday to Good Friday was interrupted and ended in turmoil with 17 people being taken to the hospital and one person was admitted to the ICU for head trauma. Eight people were arrested for the vandalism and the police investigated the connections and potential coordination of the attack on the Easter procession.
A social worker from Kent met with parents who were considering placing their child for adoption and told them the chances of their son being adopted would be hindered if he were “christened into the Christian faith,” after they expressed their wish to have their son baptized.
On the evening of April 12th, a religious procession in Toulon was interrupted by three teenagers who threatened the priests and nuns in the procession. One of the teenagers threw his backpack at them and all of them shouted “Allah Akbar”, “Long live Daesh” and “You will all blow up” (“Allah Akbar”, “Vive Daech” and “Vous allez tous sauter”). Once police were called the perpetrators fled the scene.