Sharp rise in hate crimes against Christians in 2020


European Union


The statue of het Danish-Norwegian evangelist Hans Egede was smeared in June 2020. Churches in Europe suffer from a growing vandalism. Photo AFP, Liselotte Sabroe

The number of hate crimes against Christians in Europe increased sharply in 2020. This emerges from the annual report of the Human Rights Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

The new report was presented on the occasion of the international “Day of Tolerance” on November 16th in Warsaw, Poland. Accordingly, the number of these crimes has increased by 386 from 595 to 981 compared to the previous year (an increase of 65 per cent). These include 56 violent attacks on people, 55 threats, and 871 attacks on Christian property, Idea reports also.

Damage and smearing

The office announced that it was mainly about damage and smearing of places of worship, the desecration of cemeteries and arson attacks on churches.

Anti-Semitic hate crimes have also increased compared to 2019: from 2,021 to 2,316. In contrast, the number of such acts against Muslims fell from 511 to 333.

The office director, Matteo Mecacci (Warsaw), complained about the lack of support from many states. Most hate crimes are “still not reported, registered and prosecuted by them, leaving victims with no support or redress”.

Many more unreported cases

The head of the Observatory for Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians (OIDC), Madeleine Enzlberger (Vienna), is therefore assuming a high number of unreported cases. Only eight of the 136 civil society organisations that submitted data have consistently reported incidents against Christians. The Vienna Observatory alone reported around 600 of the 981 cases to the OSCE. Therefore, the small number of participating organisations and states suggests that the actual number of hate crimes against Christians “is probably much higher”.

According to Die Tagespost, the OIDC is working closely with the OSCE.

Photo Fransesco Paggiaro

The hatred of Christians is hardly perceived in the media or politically as an ever more prominent social problem. “The OSCE report only reflects part of this trend, which we have been documenting for years, and is still a loud wake-up call against the indifference and the fashionable abuse of Christians,” said Enzlberger.



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