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Filtered by: Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Advent Songs Removed from School's Year-End Performance

November 26, 2019, Switzerland

School leadership at a Wil elementary school in the Swiss Canton of St. Gallen made the decision to remove the three Advent/Christmas songs from the program of its year-end show, out of "respect for other cultures and religions." Teachers were reportedly "astonished" at the decision and the President of the Coordination of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland, encouraged schools not to change their traditions: "From our point of view, it is very regrettable when Christian songs are no longer sung in a Christian country," he said.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

French Nun Denied a Place in Retirement Home Due to Religious Habit

November 19, 2019, France

In October 2018, an elderly nun applied for a place in a retirement home in Vesoul, run by the city's Centre Communal d'Action Sociale (CCAS) in her home prefecture of Haute-Saone. After nine months on the waiting list, on July 2019, her request for housing was accepted, but with one condition: "With due respect for secularism, any ostentatious sign of belonging to a religious community cannot be accepted in order to ensure the serenity of all. Indeed, religion is a private affair and must remain so." The nun was told she could only wear a discreet cross. Having worn her religious habit all of her adult life, she refused to comply and was thus denied a place.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Religious Symbols

Italian Church Thief Urinated on Altar

November 16, 2019, Italy

On the afternoon of November 16th, an unidentified man entered the Trasfigurazione del Signor church in Scorrano while it was empty and stole money from the donation box and a golden necklace from around the neck of a statue of the Virgin Mary. Before leaving the church, he urinated on the altar underneath the crucifix. The incident was captured on video and police are investigating the identity of the individual.

Desecration Hate Crime Hate Incident Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Posters of Our Lady of Częstochowa with Rainbow Halo Scattered around Płock Church

April 26, 2019, Poland

On the morning of April 27th, parishioners noticed posters of Our Lady of Częstochowa (a sacred image of the Virgin Mary and Child) scattered around the church of St. Maksymilian Kolbe with rainbows replacing the golden halos. The posters were found around litter bins and portable toilets. The spokesman for the Polish Bishops Conference denounced the act and asked for people "regardless of beliefs and personal views, to respect the religious feelings of believers." The incident was also harshly criticized by the Interior Ministry.

Insult or Incitement Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Religious Symbols

Cemetery Restoration Includes System to Obscure Christian Symbols

April 8, 2019, Italy

The municipal council of Pieve di Centro in Bologna approved a proposal to install a motorized curtain system in the unconsecrated cemetery chapel to temporarily cover Christian symbols and tombs inside the chapel during ceremonies for non-Christians. The decision generated controversy, with some commentators criticizing the lack of transparency about the project, noting that the public had not been consulted and that construction of another, non-denominational space had not been considered or discussed.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

French Mayor Fights State Over Nativity Scene

December 4, 2018, France

For the second year in a row, Mayor Robert Ménard, former journalist for Reporters Without Borders, installed a nativity scene in the courtyard of the town hall of Béziers. The French government filed a complaint for its removal in the administrative court, claiming the installation violated the law of 1905 on the separation of Church and State.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Statues of Saints and the Virgin Mary Smashed, Decapitated, and Stolen in Ticino

October 10, 2018, Switzerland

Since Easter, there have been eight attacks against statues of female saints and the Virgin Mary in the southern canton of Ticino.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Religious Symbols Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Cross Torn Down in Lesvos

October 7, 2018, Greece

A huge cement cross erected over a beach in honor of people who have drowned there was torn down by unknown perpetrators during the night of October 7th. The NGO "Coexistence and Communication in the Aegean" had previously called the cross "offensive" to non-Christian migrants, a symbol of "racism and intolerance," and claimed that it had been placed above the beach to prevent refugees and migrants from swimming there. Local residents reacted with dismay and discussed re-building it.

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

"Offensive" Christian Symbols being Hidden at Funerals in Scotland

July 27, 2018, United Kingdom

The Scottish Inspector of Crematoria, Robert Swanson, said in his annual report that demands for the removal of Bibles and crosses by humanists and other minorities are on the rise. The Humanist Society of Scotland has said failure to remove Christian symbols leaves their members “open to discrimination” under the Equality Act.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Suspicious Fire at Chêne de la Vierge

July 11, 2018, France

A fire destroyed the Chêne de la Vierge (the "Oak to the Virgin"), a popular place of pilgrimage and devotion, on July 11th. The tree, which had been covered with statues, crosses, rosaries, and small shrines to the Virgin Mary was ravaged by a fire. The fire was reported to be suspicious because there had been no reports of lightning in the area, and this tree was the only one in the forest to have been burned.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Fribourg Vandalized

April 17, 2018, Switzerland

A few hours after it was installed on Boulevard de Pérolles on April 17th, replica of Rio de Janeiro's famed Christ the Redeemer statue was vandalized by a 24-year-old Syrian asylum seeker.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Woman Fined for Projecting Cross on Church Facade

March 18, 2018, Spain

A woman in the community of Callosa de Segura was sanctioned 100 euros per day for projecting the image of a cross on the wall of the church of San Martin.

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

Local Government to Demolish Cross

March 1, 2018, Spain

The tripartite government of the Castellón municipality of Vall d'Uixó formed by PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party), Izquierda Unida (United Left) and Compomís (Coalició Compromís) announced the demolition of the cross in the small Plaza de la Paz (Freedom's Square). The removal was driven by the law of Historical Memory. However, the cross of Vall d'Uixó no longer contains any symbol that refers to the Civil War or the Franco regime.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

City Hall Renovation Eliminates Christian Mosaic

February 20, 2018, Spain

Under the pretext of the restoration of the city hall's headquarters, the government of the town of San Fernando in Cadiz decided to remove the mosaic of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that had adorned the main facade of the building since 1941.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Alpes-Maritimes: Mission Cross vandalized in Grasse

February 18, 2018, France

On the morning of February 18th, municipal services workers discovered that the "Mission Cross" in Grasse had been vandalized during the night. The nearly 500 kg wrought iron cross was bent and the pedestal was deliberately moved into the roadway. The cross, dating from 1894, had been completely renovated by Jean-Marie Rouvier, of the Compagnons du Patrimoine en Pays de Grasse, in June 2016. Mayor Jérôme Viaud condemned the vandalism and launched a police investigation.

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

Belgian Red Cross Branches Ordered to Remove Crucifixes

November 29, 2017, Belgium

The Provincial Committee of the Red Cross in Liège sent an email to all branches in Belgium ordering them to remove all crucifixes from their walls, to appear more secular.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Statue of Mother Teresa to be Removed from Skopje

November 23, 2017, Other

The Minister of Culture Robert Alagjozovski of FYROMacedonia recommended the removal of a statue of Mother Teresa from the center of Skopje. The Balkan city is the birthplace of the Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary who was canonized by Pope Francis in 2016.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Church Crosses Removed from Event Logo; Replaced after Complaints

November 4, 2017, Romania

The event logo for "Upgrade My City" in Timisoura, Romania depicted a skyline with church buildings, but with the crosses atop the steeples removed. After complaints, the crosses reappeared on the logos with an apology.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

French Community Ordered to Remove Cross from Statue of John Paul II

October 25, 2017, France

On October 25th the French State Council, the highest administrative court in France, ordered the removal of the cross atop the statue of Pope John Paul II in the community of Ploërmel because the symbol violates French secularism laws.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Secularist Associations Call for Removal of Virgin Mary from Police Medal

October 24, 2017, Spain

The secularist associations Europa Lacia and Movimiento Hacia un Estado Laico (MHUEL) have appealed the 2016 Supreme Court ruling allowing the image of Nuestra Señora María Santísima del Amor to appear on a medal used by the fraternal organization, Jesús el Rico de Málaga, associated with the national police. The prosecutor asked for the appeal to be dismissed.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols