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Filtered by: Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Lutheran Church in Leipzig Attacked with Stones and Paint by Left Extremists

January 6, 2021, Germany

The St. Lukas Church in Leipzig was vandalized with paint and stones by left extremists. The portal image was damaged with paint bags and windows were smashed with stones. On January 6th, the left extremist platformed indymedia, which is monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, claimed to be the originator of the attack in an online letter. It stated: "Assembly for Moria - Smash Christian-White Europe. We attacked a Lutheran church in Leipzig to start our Monday campaign for Moria. We attacked with stones and paint". The case and the validity of the letter will be further investigated.

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

Nativity Scene in Spain Severely Vandalized

December 7, 2020, Spain

On December 7th, the nativity scene that is placed every year in the Eguzki square in Berriozar became the target of vandalism. Almost all figures were split in half and destroyed by unknown perpetrators. The figures are made out of wood and were freshly painted this year, which means that the budget for the new restoration is very small.

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

Vandals Smeared a Cross Near the Church in Valseca

November 25, 2020, Spain

On November 11th, the diocese of Segovia reported an act of vandalism against its heritage. Unknown perpetrators smeared the pedestal of a cross next to the door of the parish in Valseca. This is the third act of vandalism against the ecclesiastical patrimony in the last few days.

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

Paint Attack on Pope Monument in Poland

November 17, 2020, Poland

Unknown perpetrators vandalized a monument of John Paul II. The figure of the Polish Pope was smeared with red lightning paint, on September 11th. The sign has recently become a symbol of the women's strike, a social rebellion group against the tightening of the abortion ban.

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

St. Christ the King Church in Gothenburg Devastated by Vandals

November 13, 2020, Sweden

The Church of St. Christ the King in Gothenburg was vandalized and devastated on November 13th. The unknown perpetrators destroyed the altar and threw the candlesticks, vestments and tablecloth on the ground. The pastor, Tobias Unnerstal, believes that the act was intentionally symbolic, trying to show an "eternal Good Friday". They also scattered the songbooks and used the fire extinguisher for the candles inside the chapel. In the same church, the crucifix was already stolen a week before. The police has been informed and they started an investigation.

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

Three Chapels in Ghent Cemetery Vandalized

November 11, 2020, Belgium

On November 13th unknown perpetrators vandalized three chapels at the cementery in Vroonstalledries in Wondelgem.The police was informed by the secretary of the Church Council, who is calling for the installation of cameras to deter vandals.

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

Statue of the Virgin Mary Beheaded and Vandalized

November 2, 2020, France

A statue of the Virgin Mary, a replica of the Grotto of Lourdes, was found beheaded on November 2nd in Montpezat-de-Quercy. The investigations showed that the perpetrators also threw stones at the statue, causing the destruction. The mayor and the priests have reported the act to the police.

Desecration Insult or Incitement Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

New Figures Show Churches Targeted For Theft and Vandalism

October 30, 2020, United Kingdom

According to figures published by Countryside Alliance, a total of 212 crimes were reported against churches in Devon and Cornwall over the last year, reported by Cornwall Live on October 30th. The request of the Freedom of Information Act was made to the Police, which revealed the target of churches for lead thefts, but also vandalism, violence, assault and burglary. The government made a commitment to protect places of worship with a crime action plan 2016-2020, which should provide security measures at places of worship vulnerable to hate crimes.

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

Statue of Jesus on the Cross Set on Fire Outside St. Joseph Church

October 21, 2020, Germany

The statue of Christ on the Cross already has been vandalized in the past with satanic symbols, during the time of October 21 and 23, it was set on fire. The 31-year-old arsonist of the statue at St. Joseph's Church in Velbert, was found guilty of other arson attacks in the city and was arrested by the police, where he admitted the crimes. In order to cause the massive damage, it looks like the man wrapped the legs of the statue in cloth and then set it on fire.

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

Man Arrested for Beheading Two Statues of the Virgin

October 21, 2020, France

At Pont d'Herault in Suméne and at Montaud, the statues of the Virgin Mary were beheaded by a man. The perpetrator, who destroyed the statue by throwing stones at them, was arrested by the police and has admitted the crimes on the 21st of October.

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

Vandalism of Painting with Knife in Cathedral of Freiburg

October 18, 2020, Switzerland

A painting in the St. Nikolaus Cathedral in Freiburg was vandalized on October 18th. The painting with the title "Adoration of the Three Wise Kings" was cut through with a knife. The sacristan, Pierre Ferault, says it is the first time he witnesses such an act of vandalism. The damage is estimated to be between 5000 to 10000 Francs, as the painting is over 150 years old. The police was notified and started an investigation.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Statue of the Virgin Mary Decapitated in Borgo Sabotino

September 7, 2020, Italy

During the night of September 7th unknown perpetrators decapitated the statue of the Virgin Mary, called "Madonnina" by locals, which is situated in Borgo Sabotino in the province of Latina. This was not the first time the statue was vandalized the parish SS Cuore di Gesù states, expressing its deep sorrow over this tragic incident.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Cross vandalized in Saint-Aubin-d'Aubigné

August 21, 2020, France

On August 21st, a local resident provided photos of a broken wayside cross. It was then repaired by the town council. The cross had already been knocked off its pedestal once in 2019.

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

Satanic Motivated Profanation of 63 tombs in Lannemezan

August 9, 2020, France

During the night of August 9th, 63 tombs were vandalized and desecrated in the Lannemezan cemetery in the Hautes-Pyrénées region. Broken crosses and upside down plaques were discovered by family members. The police was alerted by the neighbors who heard the loud noise. A week later, the two young perpetrators were arrested and sentenced to 18 and 12 months in prison. According to their testimony the vandalism was driven by satanic motivations.

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

Activists Hang Rainbow Flag and Anarchist Bandana on Statue of Christ in front of Warsaw Basilica

July 28, 2020, Poland

During the night of July 28th activists from the self-described "anarchist-queer" community launched what they termed a "rainbow assault" across Warsaw. They placed a rainbow flag on the statue of Jesus Christ carrying the Cross in front of the Basilica and attached a purple anarchist bandana over Christ's face. Several of Warsaw's other famous monuments were similarly targeted. The activists left cards with a "manifesto" beginning with the phrases "This is an assault! It's a rainbow. It's an attack! We've decided to act." The message went on to say their provocative actions would continue until Polish society accepted them.

Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Religious Symbols

"Fake Mass" Filmed and Vandalism in Maccagno

July 21, 2020, Italy

The police of Maccagno suspect a small group of young people to have entered the church of Our Lady of the Point through a half-opened door during the night of July 21st. They took liturgical vestments from the sacristy and climbed onto the altar to "celebrate Mass" on it. The vandals later moved to the shore of the lake where they, after drinking bottles of beer, left the empty beer carton on the head of the statue of the Virgin Mary. Videos of the "fake Mass" appeared on social media and the police began an investigation.

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

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)

Rocks thrown through Stained Glass Window of Worcester Church

November 11, 2019, United Kingdom

11-12 November 2019. Church Warden left "in tears" after rocks damaged historic details of multiple windows at St Thomas' Church, Worcester.

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