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Filtered by: 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

Self-Described Satanist Vandalized 100 Graves in Cognac Cemetery

October 30, 2019, France

Just before All Saints' Day, about 100 graves were damaged or destroyed in the Breuil cemetery of Cognac. Christian symbols including crucifixes, crosses, and statues of the Virgin Mary and angels were targeted. An 18-year-old self-described Satanist who "hates all religions, especially Catholicism," was arrested by the police. The timing of the incident, given its close proximity to the feast of All Saints and All Souls, shocked local residents.

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

Vandalism of a Hundred Graves in Toulouse Cemetery

June 9, 2019, France

During the night between June 8 and 9, a hundred graves in the Terre-Cabade cemetery, the largest cemetery in Toulouse were damaged by vandals. According to reports, crucifixes and crosses on the graves were broken and scattered, as well as flowers and planters. Jewish and Muslim graves in the cemetery of 300,000 graves were unharmed.

Desecration Religious Symbols 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

22 Statues on the Avenue of Saints Destroyed

November 25, 2018, Poland

Just three weeks after the the new "Avenue of Saints" in front of the Matki Bożej Śnieżnej Church in Zarzecze was unveiled, 22 of the 23 statues were broken by vandals on November 25th. Only the figure of St. Paul was unharmed. The figures in the Avenue of Saints were dedicated on November 11th on the 100th anniversary of regaining independence by Poland "as an expression of gratitude and an invitation to the saints to our future and our nation," said parish priest Jan Rokosz. 

Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

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)

Statue of Virgin Mary and Child Decapitated on the Island of Noirmoutier

August 19, 2018, France

During the night of Saturday 18th to Sunday 19th of August, the 3.5 meter public statue of the Virgin Mary and Child was decapitated. Residents were shocked and searched the nearby forest for the missing heads but found nothing. Parishioners were dismayed, as the statue has stood in the community since 1949. The priest, who called the incident violent and shocking, filed a complaint at the police station.

Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christ Figure on Crucifix Destroyed

April 15, 2018, Germany

During the weekend of April 14th-15th, unknown persons severely damaged the Christ figure on the Rottmann-Wegekreuz am Reckelsberg.

Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Court Ruled 2015 Desecration of Cemetery was "Anti-Christian" Attack

March 29, 2018, France

On March 29th, the Court of Appeals in Toulouse ruled that Mohamed B., who desecrated and vandalized 215 graves, knocked down and broke crosses and other Christian symbols in a cemetery in Castres in 2015, was civilly liable for the religiously-motivated act. He had been found not criminally responsible due to mental illness, but on appeal, the court found him personally liable for compensation to AGRIF (Alliance générale contre le racisme et pour le respect de l'identité française et chrétienne).

Desecration Hate Crime 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

Acts of Vandalism in a Cemetery in Ardèche

March 17, 2018, France

On March 17th, locals discovered that 18 graves in the Saint-Romain-d'Ay cemetery had been vandalized, with crosses broken. Complaints were filed and the police began an investigation.

Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Statue of Virgin Mary in Champagnat Stolen

March 7, 2018, France

The statue of Virgin Mary in an oratory in Champagnat was torn from its base and stolen on the eve of International Women's Day. An explanatory note was left by the vandals, saying that Mary did not want to remain behind an iron gate, surrounded by plastic flowers and peeling paint, but wished to "withdraw to meditate on the state of the sacred feminine" and that she would return.

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)