Prosecutors announced that the attack on a busy Strasbourg Christmas market was an act of terrorism, committed by an Islamist extremist who had previously pledged alliance to ISIL. During the attack, the suspect shouted "Allahu Akbar." Security experts have said that the Christmas market was likely targeted both because it was crowded and its connection to Christianity and Christian symbolism. In response to the deadly attack, other Christmas markets across France implemented extra security measures.
Firefighters were called to St Mary’s Church in Penzance at around 4am in the early hours of November 24th by the key holder and his wife after the alarm sounded. A bin had been placed in front of the church door and set on fire. Witnesses reported that the fire nearly spread into the interior of the church. Police were given the CCTV footage and began an investigation. Damages are estimated at up to £10,000.
Unknown persons set fire to two benches in the altar room of the funeral chapel in Treysa on November 21st. The benches in the interior of the church were set on fire with paper waste and presumably fire accelerators. The fire caused considerable soot damage, but the building remained intact. The damage was estimated at 500 euros.
New information from the prosecutor's office indicates that Malek F., a Syrian asylum seeker charged with 3 counts of attempted murder for stabbings in The Hague on May 5, 2018, was specifically searching for “Christian and Jewish kuffars," Arabic for non-believers. In a recorded conversation with his mother from prison, he said they were similar to “animals or retarded people” and that he was a "soldier of Allah."
For the second time in a month, a fire was set in the St. Michael church in Heroldsbach. A witness noticed the fire around 5:45pm on Sunday, the 21st of October and called the authorities. The fire brigade was able to quickly extinguish the fire and prevent further damage. An intentional fire had been set in the same church on September 16th. The criminal police of Bamberg continued the investigation into both fires and continued to seek witnesses.
On September 26, 2018 an 81-year-old priest was assaulted by two homeless men he sheltered in his home. The priest was awakened by noise at around 2:00 in the morning and discovered the men trying to steal his television. The men, who the priest had been sheltering and feeding for a few days, attacked him, threatened him with a kitchen knife, and tied him to his bed. After he shouted, the perpetrators fled but were soon identified and captured by the police. On October 1st, they were each sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.
Police completed their forensic investigation of an explosion in an events hall owned by the St. Afrem Syrian Orthodox Church. The hall, rented from the church for events such as parties and wedding receptions, was empty at the time of the explosion. Police said they are still investigating who was behind the attack and the motives remain unclear.
Six masked men entered the medieval Rozhen Monastery at about 8:00 pm on September 18th. They assaulted and tied up the priest who was present and began digging into the wall behind the iconostasis in the monastery church with picks and spades. After about 30 minutes, they left the monastery without taking anything except the priest's mobile phone. The priest was reportedly unharmed but shaken by the incident. Security camera footage led to the arrest of some of the perpetrators.
Early in the evening of September 16th, a witness noticed smoke coming from the St. Michael church in Heroldsbach and contacted the authorities. Police discovered burning scraps of paper and initial estimates amounted to at least 2,500 euros in damage. After a criminal investigation, officials concluded that the fire had been intentionally set and asked for assistance from any potential witnesses.
A 58 year old man confessed to setting a fire that heavily damaged the Johanneskirche am Lendkanal on September 15th. The altar cross, a gift of British soldiers and of great sentimental value, was missing after the fire but later found near the church.
A 49-year-old man was charged on suspicion of arson in connection with two fires that were set in Edinburgh in the early hours of the 28th of August 2018. One fire was set with a petrol bomb at 5am at the Sikh temple Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Sheriff Brae, which is situated in the building of a former church, and the other was set at 7am at the Methodist Church in Junction Place. No one was injured, but the temple suffered smoke damage. The man is due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday, 30th of August 2018.
During the night between the 14th to the 15th of August, thieves broke into the bishop's home through a toilet window on the ground floor. They assaulted both Bishop Jean-Pierre Delville as well as his godson who was also present in the house. They demanded cash, believing that the money collected from the churches was kept there. Having no cash in the house, the bishop and his godson had to resort to the money the godson had kept saved up for a trip abroad. They further asked for gold and valuable paintings, a Picasso in particular. The bishop gave them three chalices and pointed them towards four pieces of art from the 17th century that decorated the council chamber. After hitting one of the victims and threatening to kill them, they locked the bishop and his godson in a bathroom, where they were found the next morning. The thieves were described as "masked and professional" and explained they needed money to cure the 5-year-old daughter of one of them. They spoke German, as well as an unidentified foreign language and only spoke French poorly. The damage has been estimated to amount to 20 000 euros. An investigation is ongoing.
On August 18th, national police arrested two members of an extreme left group for assaulting a group of young people because they did not like the T-shirts they wore, namely the shirts of the Catholic University San Antonio de Murcia. The incident occurred in one of the pubs in area of the university a few days earlier. The victims were first insulted, then threatened, and were finally attacked. One of the victims received stitches, suffering an ocular hemorrhage. The 19 and 28-year-old perpetrators from Spain and Brazil were identified by photographs and were already known to the police for their membership in ultra-left groups. They were charged with crimes against fundamental rights (hate crimes) and injuries.
In the night from the 10th to the 11th of August there was an arson attack in the church of Santa Caterina da Siena in Rosolini. The back of the church structure was set on fire and the flames penetrated into the warehouse where plastic caps which were collected for the charity project "Stappiao la speranza" were stored. The funds resulting from the project were to be sent to the twin parish Butembo Beni in the Democratic Republic of Congo. More than 1,000 kilos of the caps went up in smoke and there was serious damage done to the church. The incident left the church perplexed and the Mayor and Prime Minister expressed their solidarity. The incident was reported to the police.
St. Mary's Syrian Orthodox Church in Norrköping began to burn just after 2am on 6th of August. When rescue services arrived at the scene, there were open flames across the facade of the wooden church. 30 firemen from seven stations were able to get the fire under control by 3.40am. The police came to the conclusion that the fire was the result of arson when a fire dog found a flammable liquid on the scene, which technicians confirmed. The church was heavily damaged and it will take some time for it to be renovated. Members of the church, to which 1100 people belong, were upset and shocked. Police are searching for the perpetrator.
On the 5th of August four fires were started in the parish church Saint-Pierre in Neuilly-sur-Seine at about 2:30 in the afternoon. They were noticed by two people who had been waiting for the bus on the Avenue du Roule but had entered the church to cool down. They smelled smoke and found fire at four different locations near the entrance. The passersby rushed to extinguish the flames with water to keep the fire from spreading. Fourteen firemen with three machines were called on site. The perpetrators had started the fires by setting flames to flyers and a prayer book. They had also left a piece of paper on a candle at the foot of a statue. No material damage was caused. The parish filed a complaint and the police started an investigation.
A fire was set in the church Saint-Pierre du Matroi in Orléans on the 25th of July. Sheet music was burned, furniture was damaged, and smears of graffiti were found on several walls, including one reading "Allahu Akbar." The fire brigade was able to intervene early enough to prevent further spread of the fire, thus preserving the support structure of the church. The police believe the fire was intentionally set.
A man caused panic in the Paris metro on July 14th when he threatened the passengers with a knife, screaming "I am a Muslim and I target all Catholics." The police took the 23-year-old Egyptian "Emad F." into custody.
Catholic priest Tom White was spat on twice as he greeting parishioners outside St. Alphonsus' Church after Mass at the same time that an 'Orange Walk,' a procession by a Protestant fraternal order, passed by. He was also hit with a baton and verbally abused. A spokesperson for the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland has said that no one from the parade was involved. Police Scotland, who had been guarding the church but were called away before the parade passed by, began a hate crime investigation.
On June 24th, in the middle of the night, a group of about 30-40 refugees attacked two Christian families along with another Christian man after they returned from a bible-reading. According to International Christian Consulate, "the attackers poured petrol over the cabin where they were meeting, and threatened to set it alight. They beat up the men and held knives to the throats of the two women and children, while telling them, ‘This is a Muslim camp. You have to leave’."