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Filtered by: Freedom of Religion

Anti-Pope-Campaign Sues Pope at International Tribunal

May 16, 2011, International

The campaign “Calling the Pope to Account” sued Pope Benedict XVI at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity. The charges are: “the preservation and leadership of a worldwide totalitarian regime of coercion, which subjugates its members with terrifying and health-endangering threats; the adherence to a fatal forbiddance of the use of condoms, even when the danger of HIV-AIDS infection exists; and the establishment and maintenance of a worldwide system of cover-up of the sexual crimes committed by Catholic priests and their preferential treatment, which aids and abets ever new crimes”. The campaign is supported by posters and a book publication.

Defamation Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Insult or Incitement Negative Stereotyping

Socialist Youth Political Movement Promotes Elimination of Religious Symbols and Funding Cuts to Church

April 28, 2011, Spain

Socialist Youth of Spain (Juventudes Socialistas de España - JSE), part of the PSOE political wing, has started an electoral platform that supports the removal of every religious symbol from public schools, and the progressive reduction of funds including the elimination of schools that receive taxpayers' money but are run privately (which are mostly confessional schools). Among other proposals the JSE supports free distribution of condoms, the day-after pill, indoctrination on abortion, and free sex change surgery.

Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Flash Mob Disturbs Good Friday Procession

April 22, 2011, Germany

A flash mob intended to protest against a law prohibiting dancing events on certain holidays interfered with the Good Friday procession of the Croatian Catholic community in Frankfurt/Main.

Freedom of Religion Hate Incident

Court Interferes in Church Self-Administration in Hiring Decision

April 20, 2011, Spain

The Spanish Constitutional Tribunal ruled that Catechism teacher Resurrección Galera Navarro whose working contract was not renewed after marrying a divorced man and not informing her employer, she was dismissed unlawfully. Employer Ferrer Guardia Catholic School in Almeria was sentenced to pay compensation. Acknowledging the human dimension of this incident, it is in any case necessary that religious institutions are able to establish their own rules and ethos.

Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws

Vandalism at Nathan-Söderblom Church in Reinbek

April 14, 2011, Germany

A gang of about 20 youth has been rampaging repeatedly around the Nathan-Söderblom church in Reinbek in the spring of 2011, including the urination into a work of art that represents the grave of Christ. Police and social service have not been able to calm down those involved, and are considering to hire a social worker to find a remedy.

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

German Mother Jailed for Refusing Government Sex-Ed

March 31, 2011, Germany

Irene Wiens, mother of twelve, served a 43-day jail sentence in Germany for refusing to enroll her children in sex-ed classes, deemed by her husband and herself to teach a permissive view of human sexuality. An appeal to the European Court of Human Rights has been filed.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion Rights of Parents

iPhone Christian Applications Removed

March 31, 2011, International

Apple suppresses diversity of belief by shutting down two Christian iPhone applications claiming that the were “offensive to large groups of people”, and the support of traditional marriage, family, and life “expose[d] a group to harm” and delivered “hate speech”.

Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws

300 Academic Signatures in Support of Removing Chapels from Campuses

March 31, 2011, Spain

Professors and authorities of several Spanish public universities have signed a document supporting the anti-chapel students´ movement. After a violent incident took place at Somosaguas Chapel located on Computense University campus, in Madrid, the professors affirmed in the document that "the presence of chapels and other symbols of religion power has no relation with the freedom of religion but with a Catholic Church privilege; and the time to end such [privileges] has arrived".

Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Missionaries Seen as a Threat to the Integrity of the Country

March 31, 2011, Turkey

Missionaries and evangelists in Turkey are perceived as a real threat to both the integrity of the country and to the Muslim religion. Therefore, evangelism is regarded with suspicion and evangelists are sometimes arrested. Non-Muslim religious communities reported that they are personally being attacked. Attacks against churches and cemeteries take place as well.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Religion Hate Crime

Restrictions on Training of Clergy in Turkey Remain

March 29, 2011, Turkey

Individual religious communities in Turkey are restricted in their training of clergy. The Turkish legislation does not provide for private higher religious education for minorities and such opportunities are inexistent in the public education system.

Equality Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Religion

Anti-Chapel Demonstration in Valencia Called For But Failed

March 24, 2011, Spain

After anti-chapel demonstrations had taken place at Computense University in Madrid and Barcelona University, students of the University of Valencia called to march against chapel service at the Valencia School of Medicine. At the end, the rally did not take place.

Desecration Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Non-Muslim Religious Communities in Turkey Face Obstacles in Using Places of Worship

March 20, 2011, Turkey

Non-Muslim religious communities living in Turkey report difficulties opening, maintaining, and operating houses of worship. These groups may not build new churches because of the often arbitrary refusals to issue construction permits for places of worship. The reason behind this discriminatory behaviour is the fact that all unofficial meetings for religious minorities are considered potentially subversive.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Religion

Italian School Rejects Cardinal’s Visit

March 17, 2011, Italy

An Italian school from Genova, Pertini-Diaz, rejected Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco’s visit. The spokesperson for Pertini-Diaz expressed concerns about the pastoral purpose of the visit, and the security staff that the cardinal would bring along with him. The Pertini-Diaz school would however welcome a non-pastoral visit.

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

Desecration of University Chapel

March 10, 2011, Spain

At Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) a group of 50 young people stormed the chapel of the Somosaguas university campus to protest against the Catholic Church.

Desecration Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Attempt to Silence Catholic Teacher

March 7, 2011, Croatia

Catholic catechism teacher of a Zagreb primary school was accused of homophobia for staying in line with the Catholic Church teachings during catechism classes.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws Rights of Parents

Universidad de Valladolid Bars Access to Chapel: "Whoever Wants to Pray, Go To the Field”

February 22, 2011, Spain

Due to “security reasons”, a glass panel has been set up in order to prevent any worshippers from entering the chapel of the University of Valladolid. The Christian student union “AJIO” met with the president of the university in order to express frustration over such a barrier. Their complaints were not heard, however, as the only answer received from the faculty remains, “God is everywhere. Go away to pray in the field.”

Freedom of Religion

One of the World's Oldest Monasteries Expropriated

January 31, 2011, Turkey

The lands surrounding the Syrian-orthodox monastery of Mor Gabriel, near Midyat in South-Eastern Turkey, have been expropriated by Turkey’s supreme court. According to the verdict, the treasury of Turkey has a right to claim the lands.

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

Suspension of Catholic Services at the University of Barcelona Due to Protests by Secular Students

January 31, 2011, Spain

At the University of Barcelona protests by a group of secular students against the Catholic liturgical service on campus, including the interruption of the service, led to a cancelation of the weekly Wednesday Mass - until the University would be able to guarantee the safety of attending students.

Freedom of Religion Hate Incident

Religion Teacher Forced to Remove a Crucifix and an Icon

January 30, 2011, Spain

A Catholic religion teacher was forced to remove a cross and an icon from a wall of a shared office in a secondary school in Zújar, Spain because two teachers said they were "offended" by them.

Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Threats by Islamists against Coptic Churches in Europe

January 6, 2011, International

Christian Copts in Europe, particularly in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy, celebrated Christmas on January 6th under special police protection.

Freedom of Religion Hate Crime Hate Incident

EU Seemingly Pressured Moldova Into Strong Anti-Discrimination Legislation

December 31, 2010, European Institutions (EU, ECHR, et.al.)

The Council of the European Union proposed a visa liberalisation action plan for Moldova without much room for negotiations about the conditions: in a unilateral document, it was required to accept policies which would potentially infringe on the freedom of conscience or expression as well as that of religious institutions and organisations.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws

Barcelona City Council Approved Gay Monument in front of the Basilica Sagrada Familia.

December 29, 2010, Spain

The City Hall of Barcelona approved a monument to honor the gay, transsexual and lesbian lifestyle in front of Sagrada Familia, the Barcelona Basilica. The proximity of location as well as the political message in relation to the dedication of the Basilica is troubling to Christians.

Freedom of Religion

Turkish-Cypriot Police Raid Christian Church During Christmas Service

December 25, 2010, Cyprus

Police officers of the Turkish-Cypriot government entered a Greek-Orthodox Church in Rizokarpaso on December 25th 2010 and forced the priest to stop the Christmas morning liturgy. They coerced the priest and worshippers attending liturgy to leave the church and then locked its doors.

Freedom of Religion Hate Incident

Removal of Nativity Scenes and Christian Contents at Christmas

December 24, 2010, Spain

Manuel Ángel Rodríguez, City Hall representative of Oviedo, proposed the removal of nativities from any public building, specially schools. In 2009, Juan de Padilla school, in Toledo, suppressed every religious reference to Christmas but «Halloween», a foreign celebration to Spanish tradition, was welcomed. Nativity scenes and Christmas carols were replaced in the Toledo school, while decorated trees and the pagan character of Noel were permitted after two parents had complained about the religious connotation of the shepherds and the angels seen in the traditional manger.

Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Harsh Persecution of Muslims Converted to Christianity

December 1, 2010, United Kingdom

In Great Britain many converts from Islam to Christianity are forced to worship in secret at the risk of their own lives according to the report of the French Internet Portal “Observatoire de l’islamisation” which resulted in a report broadcasted 2010 on British TV.

Freedom of Religion Hate Crime Hate Incident Insult or Incitement Vandalism (form of hate crime)

"Santo Ángel" School in Albacete Reported For Offering Students the Opportunity to Pray

November 22, 2010, Spain

A small group of parents of Santo Angel School reported the School’s Catholic Center to the Ministry of Education of Murcia for "radical ideas” for organizing an optional weekly praying hour.

Freedom of Religion Insult or Incitement Rights of Parents

Catholic School Fined For Not Hiring a Protestant Teacher

November 12, 2010, Ireland

A Catholic national school found guilty of ''discrimination'' by Equality Tribunal and fined more than €12,000 for not hiring a Protestant teacher.

Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws Rights of Parents

Generalitat Catalana and Government Fund a Forum Against Public Presence of Catholic Church

November 10, 2010, Spain

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Equality, the Generalitat of Catalonia, Barcelona City Council and La Caixa funded the Forum Libertat 2010 on the same days on which the historic visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Santiago and Barcelona took place. The Forum advocated the withdrawal of the public presence of the Catholic Church.

Freedom of Religion Negative Stereotyping

“Ortega y Gasset” School in Almendralejo (Badajoz) Forced to Remove Crucifixes From Classrooms

November 9, 2010, Spain

The parents of two students of the public school Ortega y Gasset in Almendralejo (Badajoz) succeeded in their campaign to remove crucifixes from classrooms and prohibit religious ceremonies. The school parent association, who opposes these decisions, called for a protest.

Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Greek Orthodox Church Struggles to Survive

October 30, 2010, Turkey

The Greek-Orthodox Church, school, and community in Turkey has been gradually stripped of rights by the Turkish government. European law organizations declare this a violation of human rights.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Equality Freedom of Religion

Mother Denied to Bury her Executed Son According to her Christian Faith

October 12, 2010, Belarus

Mother of an executed prisoner cannot pray at her son's tomb. It is unclear whether he had seen a priest before execution.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Threat of Condemnation for "Harassment" for Having Offered Information on Homosexuality

October 7, 2010, United Kingdom

Following a display of information on homosexuality, British Chaplain Thomas Yap was threatened that any speech or teaching that he gave within the University about unwanted same-sex attractions will be deemed as harassment resulting in staff disciplinary action if he contravened harassment legislation.

Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Polish Minister Excluded From EU-Jury Because of “Homophobic” Statement

October 3, 2010, European Institutions (EU, ECHR, et.al.)

Polish equality minister Elzabieta Radziszewska not asked to be a jury-member for this year’s EU journalism award “Together against Discrimination” after explaining rights of schools with regard to employing homosexual teachers.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws

No Place of Worship for Christians

September 30, 2010, Turkey

In a report released in September 2010, the Association of Protestant Churches details the fundamental problems faced by Christians in Turkey. Among them, the place of worship is a troublesome one.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Religion

Summary of Anti-Christian Incidents in Occupied Cyprus

September 10, 2010, Cyprus

The U.S. House of Representatives deplores: the inability of Orthodox Christians, clergy and other religious communities to access and hold services at their place of worship and cemeteries in the north; the disrepair of churches and cemeteries and the preservation of religious heritage (iconography, mosaics, and other religious symbols); the lack of schools and perspectives for young people in the north.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Religion

Attacks on Pro Life Activists

September 7, 2010, Austria

Ongoing attacks against sidewalk-counseling pro life activists in Vienna filmed and published online.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Religion Hate Crime Hate Incident Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Statue of the Mary Removed At School in Malaga

September 3, 2010, Spain

A statue of the Virgin of Fuensanta (local patron) at the Carazony college in Malaga was removed in September at the request of parents. Another group of parents launched a campaign to ask for it to be reinstated.

Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Rights of Parents

Parliament Attempt to Undermine Religion from the Public Square

August 24, 2010, Spain

The political parties Esquerra Republicana, Izquierda Unida, and Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds, requested Parliament to pass a law to remove any religious sign and faith-related traditions -specially those related to Catholicism-, from the public square.

Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Pro Life Abortion Protestors Arrested

August 10, 2010, United Kingdom

Two Christian pro-life protesters were arrested twice by Police in Brighton and await the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service to see if they will face a Criminal Prosecution.

Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

The Ecumenical Patriarch in Turkey Cannot Use His Ecclesiastical Title

August 1, 2010, Turkey

Patriarch Bartholomew leads 250 million Orthodox Greeks worldwide. The community in Turkey has dwindled to a few thousand. The Turkish government refuses to recognize the title Ecumenical Patriarch, or Bartholomew's role as an international religious leader. A journalist from CBS asked Bartholomew about his feelings, he said that he felt “crucified” by the difficulties he faces every day in Turkey.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Religion

Oxford University Lecturer Discriminated Against After Converting to Christianity

July 29, 2010, United Kingdom

Dr Tali Argov overlooked for promotion, stripped of her privileges and ill-treated at social gatherings, after converting from Judaism to Christianity.

Freedom of Religion Insult or Incitement

Lower House of Irish Government Passes Civil Partnership Bill

July 5, 2010, Ireland

Lead politicians backing the bill refuse to allow a conscience clause; opposition parties claim that the objections of Christians are being ignored.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion

Case Against Turkish Christians Ongoing Despite Lack of Evidence

June 11, 2010, Turkey

Turkish attorneys now in fourth year of prosecuting two Christians for allegedly slandering Islam; despite the lack of any concrete evidence to support their claims, Turkish courts are continuing prosecution.

Equality Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Police Tell Christian that it’s a Crime to Say Homosexuality is a Sin

June 8, 2010, United Kingdom

A moderate Christian preacher, Andy Robertson, was wrongly told by a police officer Gainsborough, Lincolnshire that it is a crime to publicly express the religious belief that homosexual conduct is sinful.

Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Personal Experiences of Marginalisation at the Workplace

May 29, 2010, United Kingdom

Evangelical Premier Media conducted a survey called "Freedom of the Cross Consultations" in May 2010. 12 % of the respondants answered that they had experienced discrimination personally, another 10% that they knew someone who had. Read here some quotes at the workplace with a special focus on the medical profession.

Contractual Freedom Equality Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Militant Equality Laws

Personal Experiences of Repression of Religious Symbols and Public Prayer

May 28, 2010, United Kingdom

Evangelical Premier Media conducted a survey called "Freedom of the Cross Consultations" in May 2010. 12 % of the respondants answered that they had experienced discrimination personally, another 10% that they knew someone who had. Read here some quotes with regard to religious symbols and prayer in public.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Street Preacher Arrested for Comment on Homosexuality as a Sin

May 12, 2010, United Kingdom

Street Preacher Dale McAlpine was arrested after stating to a passersby that homosexuality was a sin. After seven hours in a police cell, McAlpine was released. (video footage available!)

Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Several Attacks on Churches Recorded

May 1, 2010, Germany

The renowned daily reports on a noticeable rise in quality and quantity of attacks against Church buildings.

Desecration Freedom of Religion Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Parents Arrested After Refusing Their Children's Participation in a Sex Ed Play

April 8, 2010, Germany

Christian parents arrested and imprisoned up to 40 days when they refused to allow their children to participate in a mandatory sexual education program.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion Rights of Parents

Attempt to Legally Qualify Catholic Church as Criminal Organisation

March 25, 2010, Austria

Vienna-based lawyer Georg Zanger wants to sue leading members of the Catholic Church on grounds of membership in a criminal organisation (§ 278a StGB, Austrian Code of Penal Law).

Equality Freedom of Religion Negative Stereotyping