A report released in early December by a European watchdog organization reported that anti-Christian hate crimes in Europe increased by 70% between 2019 and 2020 amid concerns of eroding freedoms throughout Europe.
The report was compiled by the Observatory on Intolerance Against Christians in Europe (OIDAC), using their own data along with reports from governments as well as the annual hate crime report from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
ODIHR’s 2020 hate crime report logged 981 hate crimes against Christians in Europe, compared to 2019’s 578.
“This meant an increase of 70% in anti-Christian hate crime since last year,” concluded the OIDAC’s report.
OIDAC defined anti-Christian hate-crimes as “bias motivated crimes against Christians, such as vandalism of Christian sites, including churches, cemeteries, schools, and other public symbols of Christianity, physical assault, among others.”
The watchdog’s report tracks five countries where Christians are reportedly facing the greatest difficulty in Europe: France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Of those five countries, France clocked 270 anti-Christian incidents in 2020, the highest number of attacks on people and property. In 2019, over 20 French churches were burned in arson attacks. After one church was burned in Nantes, anarchists tweeted in celebration the phrase: “The only church that illuminates is the one that burns.”
Although less frequent, Spain had some of the most severe hate-crimes against Christians.
The report stated that Spain saw “[f]orms of violence range from severe physical assault against priests who have been attacked and even stabbed, arson attacks to churches or religious symbols, vandalism, theft, desecration like smearing faeces on church walls, and aggressive disruption of mass with threats and shouts such as ‘I’m going to burn you all.’”
On the everyday level, OIDAC cited various studies showing that many Christians in these five countries self-censored their Christian beliefs for fear of societal disapproval or risk to their employment.
In Sweden, Christian healthcare professionals who conscientiously object to performing abortions can be denied employment.
“The absence of the conscience clause in Sweden[‘s laws] is already affecting Christian professionals, and intentions to alter this clause in France and Spain could lead to a complete exclusion of Christians in certain professions,” OIDAC reports.
In all five countries, OIDAC reported that Christian converts from Muslim families or backgrounds face the highest risk of encountering “rejection, threats, verbal aggression, physical violence, etc, as well as rejection, isolation, and physical assault” from their families and communities.
“[O]ur numbers speak louder than our words,” stated the OIDAC report.
Image: “A fire has broken out at the cathedral in Nantes (LUDOVIC STANG via REUTERS) (Reuters)”
Acquired from an article by the Independent titled “Nantes Cathedral fire: Arson investigation after the blaze at 15th-century French church.”