Explosions and arson: Europe church attacks revealed

Churches around Europe were subjected to theft, arson and explosions last year, according to a new report.

Over 100 incidences of vandalism across eleven European countries are catalogued by a think-tank – the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians.

The report details cases of petrol bombs being thrown at a church in Italy, and Lutheran buildings that were burnt down in Germany.


Other examples include a man jailed in the UK for setting fire to churches, Bibles stolen in Germany and provocative graffiti spray-painted in a French cathedral.

Dr Gudrun Kugler, who leads the Observatory, noted the increasingly secular society in Europe and said some leaders are trying to exclude rather than accommodate.

She said numerous incidents are reported to the group, and: “By researching, documenting and publishing these cases we hope to create an awareness which is a first step towards a remedy.”


The report also notes the case of Nick Williamson, a Christian printer who stood up to pressure to print a gay magazine.

Williamson, who was given legal advice by The Christian Institute, was referred to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland for his faith-based stance.

In its report the Vienna-based group calls for people to tolerate churchgoers both in public and private, and urges journalists to be more aware of the issue.

It also recommends that national governments “ensure the exercise of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the right to conscientious objection”.

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