What the MSM Won’t Tell You: Hate Crimes Against Christians in Europe Up 44% in 2022
The compilers of the report conclude that even though statistics can fluctuate, there is a clear trend visible in the severity of attacks against Christians in Europe.
The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe (OIDAC) published its annual report on Thursday, November 16th. Just like last year, and the years before, the OIDAC recognized a growing trend of anti-Christian violence and discrimination in Europe. In light of this continued increase of intolerance against Christians in Europe, the report denounces the lack of media coverage of this phenomenon and is strongly critical of what they call an unsatisfying response by the institutions. The compilers of the report conclude that even though statistics can fluctuate, there is a clear trend visible in the severity of attacks against Christians in Europe.
In 2022 there were 748 anti-Christian hate crimes reported from thirty countries. the year before that, in 2021, there were 519 documented attacks, an increase of 44%. The OIDAC states that the number is likely to be much higher than reported, but because not all cases are registered, the exact number is difficult to obtain. Of all registered incidents, 38 were physical attacks against Christians, three people were murdered for their faith, and 19 times church services had to be interrupted because of intimidation or fear for the safety of both clergy and lay people.
In the previous report (2021), concerning anti-Christian hate crimes, there were 60 arson attacks. This latest report over 2022 shows the number has climbed up to 105 registered arson attacks on churches in Europe.
The highest number of reported arson attacks is from Germany, with a whopping 37 attacks in one year, followed by France and Italy both reporting 16 arson attacks on their churches. In the United Kingdom, there were nine arson attacks on churches in 2022.
The five European countries with the most registered anti-Christian hate crimes are Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and Poland. For the outside world, these countries still have a Christian, or Roman Catholic image, though the actual numbers of practicing believers are declining every year.
The OIDAC report makes it clear that specifically during situations when Christianity is visible, for example during Christmas or Easter festivities, anti-Christian attacks are increasing. This would explain the increasing number of attacks on nativity scenes, church processions, and Christmas markets; eminently manifestations of Europe’s once-Christian culture and identity. For example, in Spain, one of the countries listed within the top five according to the report, a man was filmed destroying a nativity scene with a hammer in Calahorra in December 2022.
This is by far not the only incident during Christian holidays; in previous years processions were disturbed, nativity scenes destroyed or desecrated and Christmas markets have been attacked. On November 27th of this year, the Christmas tree at the Klafthmonos Square in Athens, Greece, was stripped of all its festive decorations when thieves stole as much as they could, leaving the tree “bare from the waist down,” the article in the Greek City Times states. According to the deputy mayor of Athens, similar incidents happen each year. Most likely, this will certainly not be the last incident of anti-Christian intolerance at the start of Advent, prior to Christmas celebrations later this year.
The report by the OIDAC states that three Christians were killed for their faith in Europe last year and there were 38 physical attacks against Christians in 2022 as mentioned above. In January of this year, during a drive-by shooting incident, six Christians who had just attended a memorial service at the Saint Aloysius Church in London, United Kingdom, were injured, including two children aged seven and 12. In May 2022, a father in Marseille, France, who went to pick up his two children from a Catholic school was stabbed to death in front of their eyes. In January, in the southern Spanish village of Algeciras, a man with a manchette entered two churches situated only 200 meters apart from each other and attacked and injured four people, including the priest. The sacristan was killed during the attacks.
Belgium entered the top ten of the list of countries where Christians are faced with intolerance and discrimination, The Netherlands is ranked twelfth. Two small countries that are not necessarily considered very religious and yet, both are ranked within the top fifteen. On November 22nd a Dutch newspaper, Algemeen Dagblad, reported that earlier this year, in August, a 71-year-old Iraqi Christian refugee was beaten while on public transport in The Hague, The Netherlands. According to the victim, two boys, who he said had a Syrian accent, attacked him after they had an argument concerning his Christian faith when they saw the crucifix he wore around his neck. During the attack, his eye socket and his cheekbone were broken, and apart from his physical injuries, the psychological impact of the attack also left him afraid of going out in public again. Christians in Norway were asked, according to the report, to remove crucifixes from their churches and graves because these were supposedly offensive or even could cause feelings of impedance to others.
Converts From Islam
Refugees from Islamic countries, for example, the Middle East, who converted to Christianity after coming to Europe, have been threatened in asylum centers in both Germany and The Netherlands. Some former Muslims in The Netherlands received death threats, there was a bomb threat in a church where two former Muslims were receiving Baptism, and an aid worker, also an ex-Muslim, received a funeral wreath at his home address. The European Centre for Law & Justice published a report in April 2021 in which they highlighted the attacks and intimidation Muslim converts in France receive.
Assailants are found among radical left groups such as Antifa, and radical feminist and LGBTQ+ groups. An example of this mentioned in the report, are the annual recurrent attacks on churches on International Women’s Day, March 8th, in Spain, Germany, and Italy, a trend also happening in Latin American countries such as Mexico and Bolivia. Violence, intimidation, and desecration of Christian symbols, buildings, and property also come from satanist groups and radical Islamic groups or individuals. In some cases, there have been attacks by the far right as well.
Lack Of Response
Christian Concern International president, Jeff King, said in an interview with Fox News on November 4th that the persecution of Christians is so underreported by the media, that the average person does not even know it is happening. King was talking to Fox about ICC’s recently published report titled “Persecutor of the Year”(2023). In their interview, they talked about persecution in countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Even more unknown is the increasing discrimination and intolerance against Christians in Europe; there is hardly ever an article in the mainstream media uncovering this.
Churches also scarcely mention or react to the growth of church attacks, vandalization, theft of their properties, or the increase of criminalization of Christian ethics. During the writing process of this article, I searched for a response regarding the increase of arson attacks in Germany from the diocese of Bavaria, a predominantly Roman Catholic state, but found nothing. I asked Mr. Henk Rijkers, the former editor-in-chief of the Catholic Newspaper (Katholiek Nieuwsblad) in The Netherlands and currently working for a Roman Catholic International organization called TFP, why Rijkers thinks there is little to no response from within the churches of Europe.
“I regret that there is so little response from within the Catholic church to the attacks against their own people, positions, and worship services, but it does not surprise me at all. As Alain Besançon (French historian) said, the Christian command to love your enemies implies that there are enemies and that we need to identify them. Ostrich policy, looking away, hoping the problem will disappear, is not only counterproductive but also untruthful. After all, you serve evil by remaining silent. That Christianity is under attack is nothing new, we’ve seen this from the beginning of the Church. It is part of our witnessing to Christ, but how can persecution be part of our testimony if we remain silent in the face of these brutalities? I sincerely hope the Church soon realizes it has to stand up for its rights whenever these are violated by any intolerant group in our societies.”
The absence of acknowledging and responding to the increasing attacks and hatred towards Christians and Christianity in Europe was also criticized by a group of 20 intellectuals in France who wrote an open letter in Le Figaro, the oldest national newspaper in France, expressing their concerns regarding the silence in the media on the growing attacks on their countries’ churches, clergy and lay people. In their statement, they ask for the European Union to “react and recall that all anti-religious acts must be fought with the same force.”
"All anti-religious acts must be fought with the same force because they threaten not only all believers but also the founding principles of our civilization, foremost among which is freedom of conscience.
"Stemming this scourge of anti-religious violence, which has moved from the realm of legitimate criticism to that of crime, requires coordinated action at the European level. In implementing its strategy against racism and acts of hatred, the European Union adopted the Council Framework Decision of 28 November 2008 and, as a follow-up, created the functions of coordinators in charge of the fight against anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred.
If such a fight is indispensable, which no one disputes, would it not be fair to extend it to the fight against what must be called anti-Christianity?
"What is at stake here is the equal guarantee of fundamental freedoms of thought and belief in Europe. But it is also, in the guilty indifference of the public authorities, the maintenance of the link with what founded European culture itself, from the monasticism of the origins to the twelve stars of its flag. And, with it, the perpetuation of an essential element of our civilization.
"The Commission must take this step to confirm its commitment to equal freedom of conscience for all. We can no longer pay lip service to the idea that all believers benefit from the same European protection."
They denounce the fact that the European Union does have a special coordinator for the prevention of attacks against Jews and Muslims, while there is no one appointed to combat hatred towards Christians.
Today, shortly before publishing this article, two young lads (15 and 16) were arrested in the German city of Cologne. Apparently, they wanted to plan an attack on either a Christmas market or a synagogue. Both were, according to an article in the Tagesschau, ISIS sympathizers.
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