All cases

Filtered by: Freedom of Expression

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)

Swedish Labour Court Rules Against Pro-Life Midwife

April 12, 2017, Sweden

The Swedish Labour Court upheld the judgments of the Discrimination Ombudsman and Tribunal Court in the case of Christian midwife, Ellinor Grimmark, who has been denied jobs at several clinics due to her refusal to carry out abortions and her outspoken stance on the matter.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Pro-Life Philosophy Professor Investigated then Fired from Catholic University

April 11, 2017, Belgium

Philosophy professor Stéphane Mercier was fired by the Catholic University of Leuven after a student filed a complaint about an essay Mercier wrote in which he argued that abortion is the murder of an innocent life.

Freedom of Expression

Politicians of Ponferrada Demand Removal of Holy Week Exhibition in School

March 23, 2017, Spain

The Ponferrada en Común (PeC), el Partido Comunista (PCE) e Izquierda Unida (IU) demanded immediate closure of a Holy Week exhibition in a public school by the Confraternity of Jesus of Nazareth (la Real Hermandad Jesús Nazareno). The political groups argued that such an exhibition “should not take place in a public school in a state that is defined as non-denominational.” They also claimed that the display "endangered safety at the school" as it is in a corridor that could be needed in an emergency.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

University Students Want Pro-Life Posters Removed

March 16, 2017, United Kingdom

Aberdeen University students petitioned to have a pro-life poster removed from campus, claiming it was “actively harmful” to women. The Catholic chaplaincy on the campus displayed posters for a 40 Days of Life event, featuring people holding signs and prayer vigils outside the city’s maternity hospital during Lent.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Court: Employers May Prohibit Employees from Wearing Religious Symbols

March 14, 2017, European Institutions (EU, ECHR,

On March 14, 2017, the European Court of Justice put employers' interest in "neutrality" above employees' exercise of religious freedom in a landmark judgment. The Court ruled that employers can prohibit the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign in the workplace.

Freedom of Expression Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Regional Government of Andalucía Cancels School Procession for Holy Week

March 8, 2017, Spain

School children in Dos Hermanas, Seville, were prohibited from celebrating their usual children's Holy Week procession by the regional government. The government claimed it cancelled the event because of time constraints, but parents of the affected children insist it was cancelled due to a complaint by a secular association.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Anti-Gender Ideology Campaign Censored

March 3, 2017, Spain painted a bus to circulate around Madrid with the words "Boys have penises, girls have vaginas. Don't be fooled. If you’re born a man, you’re a man. If you’re a woman, you’ll always be a woman" and publicized a pamphlet it created for parents: "Do you know what they want to teach your child at school? The laws of sexual indoctrination." The Madrid City Council authorized the seizure of the bus without a court order on March 2, 2017.

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

Primary School Teacher Suspended after Reading Bible Verses to Pupils

March 3, 2017, France

After a group of parents sent a letter of complaint, the school's headmaster suspended the Malicornay teacher. The teacher will remain under suspension pending an investigation into whether he was proselytizing in violation of secularism laws or simply studying the texts with the students. The city's mayor has denounced the suspension as extreme.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Two Street Preachers Convicted of Public Order Offenses

February 28, 2017, United Kingdom

Michael Overd and Michael Stockwell were convicted on February 28, 2017 after a public prosecutor claimed that quoting parts of the King James Bible in the context of modern British society "must be considered to be abusive and is a criminal matter". After a four-day trial, the men were found guilty under Section 31 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, for using "threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, thereby, and the offence was religiously aggravated."

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Oxford Lecturer Refused to take Christian Convert's Questions about Islam

February 27, 2017, United Kingdom

A trainee Church of England priest at Oxford University, an Iranian-born convert from Islam, claimed he wasn’t allowed to ask critical questions about Islam during a seminar and has accused the university of discrimination and bias and made a formal complaint.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Granada Bishop Accused of Hate Speech

February 20, 2017, Spain

The Spanish Observatory against LGBTfobia filed a hate speech complaint on February 20, 2017 against Archbishop Francisco Javier Martínez for a homily delivered on February 12, 2017 in which he criticized gender ideology in the education of children. The complaint accused the bishop of promoting "hate speech against LGBT persons."

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Parliamentary Group Called for a Ban on Broadcasts of Mass on Public Television

February 20, 2017, Spain

A parliamentary group in the Congress of Deputies presented a proposal calling for broadcasts of Mass on public television be prohibited, which they ask to be considered/debated by a commission that oversees RTVE, Spain’s public television station, and its affiliates.

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

France Passed Law Banning Pro-Life Websites

February 16, 2017, France

The National Assembly passed a law which bans pro-life websites which attempt to discourage women from having abortions if the sites do not openly state “who they are, what they do and what they want.”

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

LGBT Lobby Attempts to Block Lecture by Gay Author; Demanded Apology

February 7, 2017, Spain

Two LGBT groups in Barcelona demanded that the Archdiocese prohibit a February 11, 2017 lecture by Philippe Ariño in the parish of Santa Ana on the grounds that the content would be "seriously homophobic" in violation of Catalonia anti-discrimination law. The lecture by a young French Catholic man who is homosexual and advocates celibacy as a means to resist homosexual urges was organized by the Youth Delegation of the Archdiocese. The LGBT groups have also demanded an apology from the Archbishop.

Freedom of Expression

NHS does not Record Religious Discrimination

February 2, 2017, United Kingdom

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.

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

Magistrate Disciplined for Refusing to Hear Same Sex Parenting Case

January 30, 2017, United Kingdom

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office ordered Susan Preston to stand down from hearing future family cases, after she declined to sit on a case involving same-sex parenting due to her personal views.

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

Policing and Crime Bill Proposes to Raise Penalty for "Religiously Aggravated Offense"

January 18, 2017, United Kingdom

During the debate in the House of Lords, the Government was asked what would qualify for a "religiously motivated offense" and whether it could include a Christian preaching the "supreme divinity of Christ." The Government responded that this would be up to prosecutors and courts.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Goverment Still Supports Plan to Register & Inspect Sunday Schools

January 11, 2017, United Kingdom

Education minister confirmed that the program to regulate "out of school" settings, which could include Sunday school and youth group meetings, remains a government priority. Opponents say that this would leave churches open to complaints if they teach religious principles relating to traditional marriage.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Woman Attacked for Reading from Bible

December 28, 2016, Austria

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).

Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Hate Crime

UK Considering Secularist Oath of Allegiance to British Values

December 21, 2016, United Kingdom

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.

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

Hindu UKIP Member Racially Harassed for Calling Britain a "Christian Country"

December 7, 2016, United Kingdom

Anish Patel, a UKIP member and practising Hindu took to Twitter with a message defending Britain’s Christian identity. In response, Twitter users responded with racist epithets.

Freedom of Expression Negative Stereotyping

Student Union Bans Pro-Life Group

December 5, 2016, United Kingdom

Pro-life supporters have been banned from setting up an official campus group by the University of Strathclyde Student Union on the grounds that such a group would violate "safe space."

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Court Gives Town Three Months to Remove Statue of Virgin Mary

December 3, 2016, France

A court has ordered the town of Publier to remove its statue of the Virgin Mary to comply with France's ban on religious symbols in public spaces. Failure to remove it within three months will result in a fine of 100 euros per day.

Freedom of Expression Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Officials Ban Television Commercial to Commemorate World Down Syndrome Day

November 22, 2016, France

Television officials rejected as "inappropriate" an award-winning video featuring several people with Down syndrome responding to a letter from a frightened woman whose unborn baby had been diagnosed with the disorder.

Freedom of Expression

Christian Couple Blocked from Adopting Foster Children

November 9, 2016, United Kingdom

A Christian couple has been blocked from adopting their foster children, after expressing views based on their belief that children should have a mother and a father wherever possible.

Freedom of Expression Negative Stereotyping

State Council Allows "Decorative" Christmas Scenes at Town Halls

November 9, 2016, France

After a bitter two-year battle over whether decorating town hall entrances with nativity scenes violated rules on secularism, the country’s highest administrative court ruled that as long as the intent behind the installation was "cultural, artistic, or festive" - and not religious proselytism - it was permitted.

Freedom of Expression Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

French Politician Fined for Using Word from Bible to Describe Homosexuality

November 4, 2016, France

French politician and former housing minister Christine Boutin was convicted of hate speech on Wednesday by the Court of Appeals of Paris for having called homosexuality an “abomination” in an interview with the political magazine Charles in March 2014.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Media Campaign Targets Priest for Upholding Church Doctrine

November 3, 2016, Spain

The Spanish media network SER launched a media campaign against a Catholic priest for posting a list of sins that preclude parishioners from receiving Communion until they have been confessed, calling the list a throw-back to old times.

Freedom of Expression

Christian Bakers Lose Appeal

October 24, 2016, United Kingdom

The owners of Ashers Baking in Belfast lost their appeal of 2015 discrimination conviction for refusing to bake a cake ordered by homosexual activist Gareth Lee showing two Sesame Street characters and the message: “Support Gay Marriage.” The case was heard by the Supreme Court in May 2018.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

France Plans to Ban Pro-Life Websites it Judges 'Extremist'

October 6, 2016, France

Laurence Rossignol, minister of families, children, and women’s rights, has announced that the French government intends to introduce legislation to ban pro-life websites it judges to be 'extremist'. She plans an amendment to the current “Equality and Citizenship” law, which will impose penalties on owners of pro-life sites of 30,000 euro fine (£26,517/ $33,600) and two years in prison.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Humanist Association Urges Vote to Remove "God" from Constitution

September 29, 2016, Ireland

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.

Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Four Spanish Bishops Threatened with Prosecution for Criticism of LGBT law

August 31, 2016, Spain

Three of the bishops are being threatened with a criminal complaint for having written and published a condemnation of Madrid’s new “Law of Integral Protection against LGTBIphobia and Discrimination for Reasons of Orientation and Sexual Identity.” The fourth bishop is being criminally investigated for expressing support for the statement of the first three.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Nurse Fired for Talking about Faith with Patients

August 31, 2016, United Kingdom

A Christian nurse was fired for "gross misconduct" by the NHS for talking to her patients about her faith and occasionally offering prayer to help them prepare for surgery. Part of her job was to help patients complete a questionnaire, which included a question about religion.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Nice Deputy Mayor Confirms "Burkini Ban" Also Applies to Nuns' Habits on Beaches

August 26, 2016, France

Rudy Salles defended the ban of the "Burkini" and said that the same ban would apply to Catholic nuns wearing habits on Nice beaches.

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

Town Council to Remove Cross from Public Square

August 11, 2016, Spain

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.

Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Funding for Christian Charity Cut for Encouraging Homosexual Celibacy

July 19, 2016, Netherlands

"Hart van Homo's" (Heart for Gays), a Christian charity that encourages celibacy for gay Christians, lost governmental funding after the ruling party argued that it sent the wrong message.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Street Preacher Arrested for Hate Crime for Quoting Bible to Gay Teenager

July 17, 2016, United Kingdom

Gordon Larmour, a Christian evangelist, was charged with behaving in a "threatening or abusive manner aggravated by prejudice relating to sexual orientation" and "assault", after he referred to the Book of Genesis and stated that God created Adam and Eve to produce children in response to a 19-year-old's question about God's views on homosexuality. He spent one night in prison. Six months later, a court in Kilmarnock, Scotland acquitted him of all charges.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Expression

Russia's Anti-Terrorism Law Restricts Missionary Activities

July 7, 2016, Russia

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Lay Association Calls for Mayor's Resignation for Assisting in Catholic Blessing

June 29, 2016, Spain

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Valencia Cardinal Accused of Hate Speech for Homily Criticizing Gender Ideology Legislation

June 23, 2016, Spain

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares was accused of hate speech by the Feminist Platform of Alicante, along with 55 other LGBT organizations. They alleged that his homily was "full of hatred, homophobic and sexist." On June 23, 2016 he was cleared of the charges.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Christian Union Banned From Holding Meetings on College Premises

June 7, 2016, United Kingdom

A Christian union has been banned from holding meetings on college premises, as a result of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy "Prevent".

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Greens Demand Ban on Pro-Life Presentations at Schools

May 12, 2016, Austria

In April 2016, members of the Green Party in Austria submitted a Parliamentary Question to evaluate possible actions to stop “pro-life” workshops in religious education.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Television Presenter Calls Christian a "Homophobe"; Receives No Sanctions

April 12, 2016, United Kingdom

Piers Morgan will not face sanctions after asking a Christian who opposed same-sex marriage whether he was a "homophobe".

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Insult or Incitement

Magistrate Removed from Office, Suspended from NHS Trust, for Christian Belief in Traditional Family

March 29, 2016, United Kingdom

A Christian magistrate Richard Page has been removed from office by the Lord Chancellor after sharing his personal conviction in a media interview that there is not enough evidence to show that placing children in the care of same-sex couples is in their best interest.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Negative Stereotyping

Peaceful Protest in Stuttgart Disrupted by Counter-Demonstrators

February 28, 2016, Germany

A peaceful manifestation by 4,500 supporters of Demo für Alle against a proposed education program was disrupted by counter-demonstrators, resulting in clashes with police and 18 people injured, including 3 police.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression Hate Incident Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christian Postgraduate Student Expelled for Opposing Gay Marriage

February 27, 2016, United Kingdom

A Sheffield University social work postgraduate student, Felix Ngole, was expelled from his course for posting on his Facebook page that homosexual activity is against the teaching of the Bible.

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

Antifa Admits Attack on Demo für Alle

February 26, 2016, Germany

In advance of a planned peaceful demonstration on February 28 in Stuttgart by Christian activists against a new school curriculum emphasizing gender ideology, the radical left group "Antifa" attacked the building owned by a financier of the buses provided for the demonstration.

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

Paris Court Acquits Femen

February 16, 2016, France

A Paris court acquitted members of the radical feminist group Femen who had in November 2012 disrupted Catholic families peacefully protesting in defense of traditional marriage, topless with vulgar anti-church slogans written on their bodies and spraying fire extinguishers at the group.

Freedom of Expression

Bullied Christian Refugees Demand Separate Accommodations

January 20, 2016, Germany

Assyrian refugees hope to be housed apart from Muslims in the future camp near Stuttgart due to conflicts and threats.

Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Insult or Incitement