All cases

British Government Denies Asia Bibi Asylum for Fear of Community Unrest

November 9, 2018, United Kingdom

Asia Bibi, who spent eight years on death row in Pakistan, was released from prison after the Supreme Court of Pakistan overturned her sentence for “insulting the Prophet Mohammed.” Her acquittal led to unrest and riots among Pakistan's Muslim hardliners, prompting the government to try to prevent her from leaving the country. Her husband, Ashiq Masih, pleaded to the UK government: “I am requesting the Prime Minister of the UK help us and as far as possible grant us freedom.” The British government reportedly rejected this request for fear of civil unrest.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

Vandalism in the Church of Sainte Croix

November 7, 2018, France

A press release of the parish of Port de Bordeaux reported that there were “more then 40 chairs crumbled to pieces, tables and displays thrown over” in the 11th century church of Sainte Croix. Debout France – a local federation – published information about this incident on its Twitter expressing regret saying: “vandalism (…) is more and more frequent within our church.”

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Historic Forest Church Heavily Damaged by Vandalism

November 6, 2018, Italy

Several stained glass windows of the Lama Church were broken by rocks and the door was smashed by an axe. The damage was estimated several thousand euros.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism at Wallyford Church

November 5, 2018, United Kingdom

East Lothian (Scotland) Police investigated a case of vandalism at the Wallyford Livingroom Church. Vandals smashed a window by throwing stones.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Parish Church Vandalized

November 2, 2018, Germany

Police reported that two teenagers are suspected of having caused at least €3,000 in damage to the Reichertshausen parish church St. Stephanus between August 31st and September 13th. Many statues were damaged: the wing of a dove (representing the holy spirit) was broken, the statue of John the Baptist was damaged, and the head of a statue on the altar was broken off. A foul smelling and foamy liquid was poured into the holy water. The sacristan who discovered all of this damage also found remainders of ashes and crumbs, spilled beverages, a burned prayer book, and the note “F… dich Gott” (“F… you God”) in a book for prayer requests. 

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Desecration of Church in French Guiana

November 2, 2018, France

One or more unknown individuals broke into the church du Bon Pasteur and ransacked everything. The table of the altar was broken, furniture was knocked over, video material disappeared, the locks to the sacristy were broken, and consecrated hosts were emptied from the tabernacle. The parish priest and the church community were shocked and dismayed. An investigation was opened.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Offensive Graffiti and Vandalism in Church

November 2, 2018, Germany

Unknown perpetrators sprayed three walls and a prayer bench with offensive graffiti in the St. Benedikt-Kirche in Herbern. The local police spokesperson referred to the act as "antisocial behavior" and suspected "marauding teenagers" committed the vandalism sometime between 11 am and 5 pm on November 2nd.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Shocking Graffiti on Pietà

November 1, 2018, Germany

During the night before All Saints Day, the Pietà in front of the parish church St. Georg in Freising was defaced with black graffiti and vulgar sexual images. Just two weeks earlier, church painter Florian Böck had finished restoring the statue of the Mary, Mother of Sorrows (Mater Dolorosa), holding the corpse of Jesus Christ taken from the cross. Böck expressed his anger: “We really need to ask ourselves, who could do something like this?” and said it would be a long process to clean the statue and bring it to the previous status. The damage to the statue which dates back to 1640 was estimated by the police at around 3000 euros.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Over 100 Windows Smashed at Church in Ireland

October 31, 2018, Ireland

Sometime between the 29th and 31st of October, unknown perpetrators broke 104 windows at St Catherine’s Church in Tullamore. The police are investigating, and cannot exclude a targeted crime although the motive remains unclear. Parishioners expect up to €70,000 will be needed to renew the windows and enhance security.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Obscene Vandalism on Salerno Church

October 31, 2018, Italy

Vandals sprayed a phallic symbol in foam next to the Madonna on the bronze door of the church of Santa Maria a Mare a Mercatello on Halloween. The priest, who called the act disrespectful and offensive, reported that this was not the first instance of vandalism, as the churchyard is a frequent target of vandals. Both the priest and the parishioners were upset and discussed closing the churchyard and installing security cameras it the area.

Insult or Incitement Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Three Windows of Village Church Destroyed

October 30, 2018, Germany

Unknown perpetrators smashed three stained glass windows with stones between the 28th and 30th of October. The Hamminkeln police began an investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christian Group Ordered to Pay for Extra Security at Oxford Event

October 29, 2018, United Kingdom

Oxford students voted to ban Christian Concern from hosting its Wilberforce Academy residential conference at Lady Margaret Hall, calling the group a “real threat to the physical and mental safety of students.” The college, however, said it would permit the group to use its facilities provided that it paid for extra security. A college spokesperson said that Christian Concern's "opposition to abortion, Islam and LGBTQ+" rights would lead to protests so it needed to pay "additional security costs."

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

"Rainbow Friday" May Violate Polish Constitution and Education Law

October 26, 2018, Poland

For the third year in a row, more than 200 schools across Poland participated in "Rainbow Friday," a campaign to celebrate and promote acceptance of LGBT issues. The Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture examined whether such an addition to the school curriculum violated the education law and interfered with the constitutionally protected rights of parents to direct the education of their children. It encouraged parents who objected to their children's participation in the program to inform the schools of their wishes, and to report violations if their children are compelled to attend.

Rights of Parents

Scottish Campaign calls Believers 'Bigots'

October 22, 2018, United Kingdom

An anti-hate crime campaign One Scotland, launched in September 2018 by the Scottish police and government, includes a poster directed toward religious believers which reads (in part), “Dear Bigots, you can’t spread your religious hatred here. End of sermon. Yours, Scotland.” Other posters in the campaign were directed toward 'transphobes' and 'homophobes.' Critics of the campaign have noted that it singles out religious believers and calls them bigots without any qualification, and it is based on a political ideology which discriminates against those who hold traditional views.

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

Second Church Arson in a Month in Heroldsbach

October 21, 2018, Germany

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.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church in Yvelines Desecrated

October 16, 2018, France

Police were called to the church of Sainte-Julitte de Saint-Cyr-l'Ecole after feces, urine, and a cigarette butt were discovered at the foot of the altar. A police investigation was opened and a complaint will be filed.

Desecration 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)

Rifle Fire Damaged Stained Glass Windows of Church

October 8, 2018, France

Mayor René Beausoleil announced at a city council meeting that he had filed a complaint with the gendarmerie after "23 impacts of rifle fire" damaged several stained glass windows in the church of Saint-Laurent in Montfaucon-d’Argonne. The damage was estimated at €16,700. The police are investigating.

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)

Huge Metal Cross Torn Down

October 7, 2018, Germany

Vandals tore down a huge 30 kilo metal memorial cross from the cemetery next to the pilgrimage church in Marienbaum. Father Jeremias Kehren, pastor of the church, expressed the shock of the community and called it an attack on the cemetery and those who mourn there: "The wickedness with which this memorial was desecrated leaves us speechless."

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)