In a worrying development, Europe has experienced a significant increase in hate crimes targeting Christians last year.
The Vienna-based Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe (OIDAC Europe) has reported a sharp 44% rise in such incidents. This surge includes a variety of offenses, from physical attacks and vandalism to the desecration of Christian sites.
The most alarming aspect of this trend is the notable increase in arson attacks on churches, which have risen by an astonishing 75% from 2021 to 2022. This escalation, according to OIDAC Europe, is largely driven by extremist motivations and a growing societal acceptance of targeting Christian places of worship.
The OIDAC’s extensive research covers 30 European countries, documenting 748 incidents in 2022 alone. These range from graffiti and thefts to more severe cases like physical assaults and threats. Anja Hoffmann, OIDAC Europe’s Executive Director, expressed concern over the “criminalisation of expressions of mainstream religious teachings” and the impact this has on Christian communities.
OIDAC Europe’s findings align with those of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which recorded 792 anti-Christian hate crimes across 34 European countries in the same period. This makes Christians the second most targeted religious group in Europe, following Jewish believers.
Furthermore, the report sheds light on other forms of discrimination against Christians. This includes legal challenges and the loss of employment for individuals publicly expressing their religious beliefs. Such incidents not only infringe on individual rights but also pose a threat to the pluralistic nature of democratic societies.
This rise in anti-Christian hate crimes in Europe calls for urgent attention and action. in the report, Regina Polak, a professor at the University of Vienna, it is “highly necessary to raise both governmental and societal awareness for this problem” and to implement measures to effectively combat it.’
Pray for an end to Christian persecution!
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