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Filtered by: Freedom of Religion

Pentecostal Church in Rousse Threatened by Municipality Councilors and Media

April 17, 2018, Bulgaria

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Religion

Canada Summer Jobs Funding Program Becomes Religious Freedom and Conscience Rights Controversy

March 20, 2018, Canada

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.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Contractual Freedom Equality Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws

Swedish Social Democrats Seek to Ban all Religious Schools

March 13, 2018, Sweden

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.

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

Christian Peer Fears Proclaiming Christianity could be a Hate Crime

December 12, 2017, United Kingdom

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.

Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Man was Attacked for Wearing a Cross in Berlin

September 11, 2017, Germany

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."

Freedom of Religion Hate Crime

Christian Celebration in Turkish-Cyprus Temporarily Prohibited

September 5, 2017, Cyprus

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.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Religion

Court Rules Christian Child Can be Returned to Family

August 29, 2017, United Kingdom

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.

Freedom of Religion Rights of Parents

Sweden to Deport Christian to Iran Despite Danger

July 26, 2017, Sweden

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."

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Religion

Equalities Minister Said Churches Should Follow Public Opinion on Gay Marriage

July 23, 2017, United Kingdom

Justine Greening, who is also Education Secretary, said churches and other religious groups should “keep up” with public opinion on same-sex marriage.

Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws

U.K. May Scrap Single-Faith Schools

July 23, 2017, United Kingdom

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."

Freedom of Religion Rights of Parents

Christian Refugees on Lesbos Threatened; Prevented from Seeking Asylum

July 22, 2017, Greece

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.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Religion Hate Crime Insult or Incitement

School Holidays Changed to Remove Religious Connection

June 3, 2017, Spain

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Religion Rights of Parents

Jehovah’s Witnesses Outlawed in Russia

April 21, 2017, Russia

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Religion

Easter Procession Ended in Turmoil in Sevilla

April 14, 2017, Spain

“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.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Hate Crime Hate Incident Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Social Worker Discouraged Parents from Christening Son

April 13, 2017, United Kingdom

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.

Freedom of Religion Negative Stereotyping Rights of Parents

Easter Procession Disrupted by Threatening Teenagers

April 13, 2017, France

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.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Religion Insult or Incitement

Women Attacked after Mass in Brussels

April 9, 2017, Belgium

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.

Freedom of Religion Hate Crime

Good Friday Procession Cancelled due to Complaint by Secularist Group

April 8, 2017, Spain

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”).

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Religion

Bulgarian Justice Ministry Proposes Ban on Foreign Financing of Religious Groups

April 4, 2017, Bulgaria

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.

Freedom of Religion

Christian Convert Murdered in Front of her Children

April 1, 2017, Germany

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."

Freedom of Religion Hate Crime