The Helsinki Police Department announced it had opened pre-trial investigations into Päivi Räsänen, a Christian Democrat MP, for her criticism of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland's (ELCF) participation in the Helsinki LGBT Pride events in June. She posted a photograph of Romans 1:24-26 from the New Testament on Facebook and wrote "How does the foundation of the church’s teachings, the Bible, fit with elevating sin and shame as reasons for pride?"
Protestant pastor Dr. Gottfried Martens, who ministers to over 1,600 people in his church, most of them converts and asylum seekers from Iran and Afghanistan, has said that whether someone is granted asylum or not is almost like a "pure gamble." The problem Martens sees in the administrative courts is how judges "verify" the earnestness of an asylum seeker's conversion to Christianity. Some trust a pastor's statement whether written or oral in court, while some ignore it and only focus on the short time they spend with the refugee in court. This fully depends on what kind of judge one gets appointed to, according to Martens, and there is no way to prepare well enough for a court date if there is no general regulation that a minister's statement be taken into account.
A Christian patient’s request to have Sunday worship services at a medium secure mental health unit in East London have finally been granted after a year-long legal battle with the NHS on the grounds of religious discrimination. As a result of his weekly requests falling on deaf ears, Freddie O'Neil turned to the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) for support. A pre-action letter was then sent to the East London Foundation Trust in October 2018 stating that, as a Christian, Freddie needed to attend Sunday Christian services each week as well as receiving Holy Communion. After a year, and further threats of legal action, the Centre finally began offering weekly Sunday Christian services on Sunday 7 July 2019.
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.
Two Polish women were on their way to the bus station to return home after having attended Mass at the church of Notre Dame de la Chapelle on Palm Sunday. As they walked through what was described in media reports as an “the Arab quarter” on their way to the Midi station, they were attacked by a man who cursed at them both in Arabic and French calling them “dirty Christians” and “whores” (“sales chrétiennes” and “putes“). Because the women were carrying palms from the Mass, the man was able to identify them as Christians. One of the women was knocked down and then kicked. She did not sustain any major injuries, but was in pain. The police were called but the attacker fled before they could arrive. The Polish Christian community responded by hiring security for the doors before and after Mass.
The Andalusian Education Inspection cancelled the Good Friday procession for school children in Dos Hermanas due to time pressure for parents and complaint by a secularist group, Sevilla Laica. The parents of the affected children gathered signatures to reverse the decision as the procession is a voluntary activity and their children “were very excited” (“estaban muy ilusionados”).
The Justice Ministry of Bulgaria has presented a draft bill that would ban foreign countries from financing religious groups in the country, unless an inter-state treaty is in effect. The bill would require that foreign citizens serving as religious workers be fluent in Bulgarian and that no Bulgarian citizen can do the work. This could affect Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, as well as Islam and Judaism.
A female Afghan Christian convert was stabbed to death by an Afghan asylum seeker in front of her children in front of a supermarket in Prien am Chiemsee. The 29-year old Muslim attacker yelled at Farina S. before stabbing her. He continued to stab her until an off-duty policeman and several witnesses dragged him aside. The woman, who moved to Bavaria six years earlier, died of her wounds. The victim’s family is convinced that the motive for the attack was the 38-year old woman’s religion. The police report: "For us, only facts count. But there is evidence of a religious motive for this act that we are pursuing."
The municipal government's proceedings are an attempt to nullify the inmatriculación (entry into the property registry) of La Catedral de San Salvador de Zaragoza, known La Seo and Iglesia de La Magdalena by claiming the buildings are public property. The spokesman for the Archbishop of Zaragoza, José Antonio Calvo, replied that that the city cannot prevail because the Church has owned the buildings since the 12th century.
Hundreds of posters were hung around the El Raval neighborhood of Barcelona encouraging Muslim men to take Christian wives, saying that they were permitted and encouraged to marry "honest and chaste women of the Book" (meaning Christians) for the purpose of increasing the population of Muslims in the region. The posters read "Brother, join in alliance with a Spanish woman, teach her that Islam is the only true religion. Islamic law dictates that the fruits of this alliance will follow Islam, which will further strengthen our community." It appears these posters are part of the "right-to-return" movement to "Restore Al-Andalus" -- that is, Muslim Spain.
The Mayor of Zarazoga and the local coalition government prohibited the Firefighters to continue with their tradition to celebrate Mass in their firehouse for the feast of San Juan de Dios.
A 33-year-old Muslim man from the western Balkans was charged with criminal interference with the exercise of religion after he interrupted a funeral service at the Christuskirche in Schnaittacher, shouting "I curse you and your religion."
The National Health Service has confirmed, in response to a question from a Member of Parliament, that it does not collect information on instances of discrimination against NHS staff on the basis of their faith.
After a complaint by a resident in Pezinok about the volume of the local church bells, and another complaint by a different resident in Svinna, courts have ordered the church to reduce the volume or silence the bells in each town.
Germany’s Ministry for Immigration and Refugees (BAMF) rejected many applications for asylum from Iranian and Afghan converts from Islam to Christianity, following “kangaroo court”-style hearings as to whether the conversions are genuine, according to a Berlin pastor.
A 22-year-old man from Afghanistan stabbed a Christian woman when he heard her reading from the Bible at a refugee accommodation in Vöcklamarkt (Upper Austria).
The UK government has proposed that all office holders and employees of the State swear an Oath of Allegiance to British Values that conflicts with traditional Christian teaching about sexuality.
A family have been forced to flee their home under armed police guard amid fears for their safety after suffering what they say is eight years of persecution for converting from Islam to Christianity.
Swedish midwife Linda Steen objected to assisting with abortions for reasons of conscience and as a consequence public hospitals denied her employment. She sued the Sörmland county council for violation of her freedom of conscience and religion. After losing the case, she was ordered to pay 1.2 million Swedish krona for the city's legal expenses.
A Kurdish church leader smuggled to Britain says he received death threats – for having left Islam for Christianity – while living in makeshift camps in northern France. The church leader, who did not wish to be identified, spent nine months living in camps outside the French cities of Calais and Dunkirk. He said that Kurdish Muslims in both camps antagonized him for his Christian faith.
In November, the Madrid City Council is expected to approve a draft "human rights" law which includes the removal of religious symbols from public spaces.
The NGOs AVC (Action on behalf of Persecuted Christians and the Needy), EMG (European Mission Society) as well as ZOCD (Central Council of Oriental Christians in Germany) and Open Doors announced the results of their research on October 17th.
A recently repaired and cleaned cemetery chapel was turned into a public toilet and a garbage dump, with many graves overrun with weeds, despite a custodian employed by the Priština municipality.
Following the failed military coup against President Erdogan the Christians of Turkey are being made scapegoats by government officials and Islamist extremists.
Police with guns patrol Canterbury Cathedral due to concerns about terror attacks. The extra security is in response to a series of jihadist attacks across Europe, including the murder of French priest, Father Jacques Hamel.
The Association calls for the removal of any references to God in the Constitution, and to any clauses that require public officials to swear a religious oath upon taking office.
Refugees who have converted from Islam to Christianity report beatings, threats, bullying, and social exclusion in refugee accommodations.
Attempts by Serbs to mark the religious holiday of Assumption in several towns in Kosovo and Metohija were met with road blocks, threats of burning, rocks, tear gas, and an attack on the car of the deputy director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Dusan Kozarev.
Rudy Salles defended the ban of the "Burkini" and said that the same ban would apply to Catholic nuns wearing habits on Nice beaches.
Donald Ossewaarde was arrested on August 14th as he conducted a bible study group in his home. He is first foreign missionary to be charged with violating Russia's law banning missionary activity outside officially registered church buildings.
After 88 years of closure, the Panagia Sumela Monastery in Trabzon, was reopened in June 2010 and since then, the Turkish authorities had given a license for a yearly Mass to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to celebrate the Mass of the Assumption. This year, the authorization was administratively revoked.
The Callosa de Segura town council voted to remove the cross in the plaza of the church of San Martin. Christian legal groups objected, noting that its presence poses no threat to anyone and that it is part of the town's historical and cultural heritage.
During a press conference with Bundestag member Erika Steinbach, Pastor Mahin Mousapour said Christians staying at migrant shelters are being told that they are impure and that they deserve to die for rejecting Islam.
Fourteen young Christian Iranians fled their accommodations after being threatened with death for months by a group of Muslims living in the tent city.
A group of about 25 people burst into the church of Saint Gregory Palamas in Thessaloniki, disrupting the Divine Liturgy (Eucharistic service of the Byzantine Rite) throwing leaflets protesting against the expulsion of refugees and migrants. The protesters clashed with those present in the church. Riot police made more than twenty arrests.
Macy’s department store in New York fired a Catholic employee because he questioned their transgender bathroom policy, even though he told his employer he would enforce the policy.
Cardinal Marx, chair of German Bishops' Conference and Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, head of the Protestant Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), united to condemn the attacks on Christians and other religious minorities in camps.
The country's religious education classes in French-speaking primary and secondary schools will be cut in half in October 2016 and replaced with a weekly hour of citizenship classes, over the objection of students and teachers.
The new law bans preaching, praying, proselytizing, and disseminating religious materials outside of officially-designated sites, and authorizes fines for these activities conducted in private residences or distributed through mass print, broadcast or online media.
Judges in Belgium fined a Catholic nursing home after it prevented doctors from giving a lethal injection to a 74-year-old lung cancer sufferer on its premises.
The president of Asturias Laica, Jose Luis Iglesias, has formally requested that the Mayor of Gijon, Carmen Moriyón, resign from office for assisting in the Catholic ritual of the blessing of the waters in the feast of San Pedro, the city’s patron saint, which was celebrated on June 29.
Two young Afghan men severely attacked a woman from Iran because she converted from Islam to Christianity, according to police.
The Church of England has been accused of discriminating against a lesbian couple by refusing to conduct their wedding.
Security guards at refugee camps in Hamburg have reportedly told the Christian residents to keep their faith a secret, claiming they cannot protect them if their secret is revealed.
A Christian refugee family of four was attacked by Muslims in their shared refugee accommodations for not participating in Ramadan. The family members were taken to a hospital in Seligenstadt due to their injuries. The mother and two sons were attacked with chairs and one of the sons was struck in the arms with a sharp object. The father suffered from arrhythmia due to the attack. During the attack the radical Muslims stated "Let us kill the unbelieving Christians, punish!" ("Lasst uns die ungläubigen Christen abschlachten, bestrafen!"). Police were able to intervene and the Christian family has been moved to a different refugee accommodation.
The Holy See’s Permanent Representative to UN offices in Vienna, Msgr. Janusz Urbanczyk, has urged the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe to pay greater attention to discrimination against Europe’s Christians.
Christian refugees in various accommodation centers in Austria endured abuse at the hands of Muslim fellow refugees, including being forced to wake early in the morning to pray, being told they were impure, having belongings stolen, and instances of physical violence.
The case concerned the inability of Mersin and Izmir Jehovah's Witnesses in Turkey to obtain an appropriate place to engage in worship due to restrictive laws. The ECtHR held that such restrictions amounted to a direct interference with their freedom of religion.
According to the NGO "Christian Solidarity International" (CSI), Christian refugees are being repeatedly discriminated against in Austrian refugee centers.
In the region of Diyarbakir, the Turkish government seized huge sections of property, including six churches. One of these is a 1,700 year old Syriac Orthodox Church.
Muslim refugees at the regional office complained about having to sit in the waiting room with "impure Christians". Security staff responded by banning the Christians for six months.
Six Iranian Christian refugees were told by a security employee of the Tempelhof accommodation that they had an hour to leave because they were trouble-makers. Just days earlier, these six men had been threatened with beatings by 70 radical Muslim refugees for reading the Bible.
The Hamburg prosecutor has indicted a 23-year-old Afghan asylum seeker Mohebolla A. He is said to have attacked and seriously injured a 24-year-old Amir H., an Iranian Christian, with a telescopic baton on 18 October in a shelter.
Due to frequent reports of abuse, harassment, and assaults against Christian refugees at the hands of their Muslim co-habitatants, the City of Stuttgart has approved new, separate, accommodations.
A member of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Berlin-Stegliz was attacked because of his Christian faith in the refugee camp where he lives.
Despite promises to the contrary, officials from the Calais Prefecture bulldozed a church and a mosque in the refugee camp.
Assyrian refugees hope to be housed apart from Muslims in the future camp near Stuttgart due to conflicts and threats.
“The situation in refugee camps, especially in Berlin is very dramatic”, said Pastor Gottfried Martens of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Berlin. Around 1.000 refugees from Iran, Afghanistan and the Arabic world visit his community.
In a series of emails to a French blog, Pastor Daniel O. described the beatings, stabbings, disappearance, and presumed murder of an Iranian Christian at the Grande-Synthe refugee camp.
Christian refugees are exposed to harassment at the refugee camps in Germany, says Hegumen Daniel (Irbits) father superior of the St. George the Victorious Monastery in Gotschendorf, member of the Integration Committee at the German Federal Chancellery.
A 19-year-old man told another refugee (18) that he was no longer a Muslim, but had become a Christian. The 18-year-old responded: "Then I will cut your throat. For this, I do not even need permission from IS. "
Norwegian child services have begun the adoption process for five children who were seized from a Romanian Pentecostal family in November after concerns were expressed about the parents' Christian faith, the family says.
The shelling of the Cologne Cathedral with fireworks and firecrackers on New Year's evening between 6:30 and 7:45 pm was a targeted disruption of the service.
According to Open Doors France, police are investigating a knife attack by Iraqi migrants against Christian refugees which left several wounded and one 19-year-old man dead.
Plans for Ofsted to regulate out-of-school settings could burden churches, discourage volunteers and cause unnecessary distress to children, a Conservative MP has warned.
At the end of November five Muslim security employees beat two refugees from Iran for having a bible in their room.
A 26-year-old Syrian, known as "N.N.," was arrested on suspicion of beating and threatening a 16-year-old at an asylum house in Borgholm.
School officials point to respect for the "multicultural character" of their student body as the reason.
Violent acts are not only committed by other asylum seekers, but in some cases by security personnel, as well.
The advertisement shows the Lord’s Prayer being recited by a members of the public ranging from bodybuilders to children.
The Department of Culture in Palma de Mallorca has reduced municipal funding for events during the week leading up to Easter (known as “Holy Week” or “Semana Santa”, famous for grand processions) to just 3.000 euros, and has not allocated any funding to the important Catholic feast of Corpus Christi (known simply as “Corpus”).
The mayor of Madrid announced plans for the city’s commemoration of the Christian holiday, including Greek dancing and Arabic food tasting, among other programming activities.
According to a petition in support of the family which has attracted more than 22,600 signatures, the couple have been charged with "Christian radicalism and indoctrination".
The Swedish Migration Board issued a deportation order against Faisel Javaid, concluding that Christians from Pakistan do not need protection because they can just keep their faith a secret.
A 24-year-old Iranian was beaten with a baton by an Afghan man, who allegedly declared that it was not a sin to kill him, according to police. This attack is now being called attempted homicide by prosecutors.
A Pakistani couple had to leave the shelter in Western Sweden where they were staying after harassment by some of the Muslims in the housing ended with the husband's name sprayed on a wall near their room calling for his death.
After a leaked report indicated that the strategy would include the following provision, "pastors, rabbis and other religious leaders will be subject to Government training and security checks and will have to enrol in a 'national register of faith leaders'," the Government's final strategy only calls for "training."
A Christian disciplined by an NHS trust for praying with a colleague has won permission to appeal an employment tribunal’s decision against her.
The Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith reported that Pastor Taras Sen was taken hostage on 27 September in the city of Sverdlovsk in the Luhansk oblast by armed militants and released on 1 October 2015.
Christian refugees in German asylum centres are living in constant fear, as the Sunni majority within the migrant population attempts to enforce Sharia law. The situation is so bad that Christians claim they live like “prisoners” in Germany, and some have even returned to Middle East.
A 26-year-old, who claimed to have fought with jihadist groups in Syria, was arrested by police after threatening to "slaughter" and "cut the throat" of a Christian refugee.