Report Records Anti-Christian Hate Crime in Europe

Observatory Urges International Action

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VIENNA, Austria, DEC. 10, 2010 ( A report released today documents several instances of anti-Christian hate crimes throughout Europe, as well as evidence of intolerance and discrimination. It calls for international action on behalf of Christians.

The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe released the five-year report today.

It was publicized to coincide with the two-day Human Dimension Implementation Meeting on Freedom of Religion of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which ended today in Vienna.

The observatory’s director, Gudrun Kugler, noted that «intolerance and discrimination against Christians includes the denial of rights of Christians, such as in the area of freedom of expression and freedom of conscience.»

She continued: «Religious freedom is endangered especially with regard to its public and its institutional dimension.

«We also receive many reports on the removal of Christian symbols, misrepresentation and negative stereotyping of Christians in the media, and social disadvantages for Christians, such as being ridiculed or overlooked for promotion in the workplace.»

«We work toward greater awareness of a growing problem in Europe as a first step of a remedy,» Kugler said. «Our goal is equal rights for all, including Christians.»

The observatory has a Web site through which it has been monitoring and cataloging instances of anti-Christian discrimination.

Violent attacks

In the report’s section on hate crimes involving violent attacks on Christian individuals, several instances were documented. Among these, it listed attacks on pro-life activists in Vienna last September, the beating of a Catholic priest as well as an Orthodox priest in Germany, a violent attack on four Franciscan monks in their monastery in Italy, and many other examples.

It also noted that in November 2009 the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation released statistics showing a 9% increase in crimes against religious groups the previous year, and a 25% increase in hate crimes against Catholics.

The report noted, «While Christianity holds a majority in Europe at least in numbers, it faces acts of intolerance, partly inflicted by small radical groups.»

«Discriminatory laws are created when intolerance is paired with legislative power,» it added. «It is the duty of the political community to be aware of and tackle the phenomenon of intolerance and discrimination against Christians as a call for equal rights and freedoms for everyone.»

The observatory published several recommendations to address these problems.

It urged the governments of individual European nations to «refrain from interferences and to modify legislation that discriminates against Christians.»

It called on the authorities to «recognize and condemn intolerance and discrimination against Christians and ensure the right of Christians to participate fully in public life.»

The observatory encouraged the European Union «to respect, without prejudice, the protection of the autonomy of churches in accordance with Article 17 (1) of the Lisbon Treaty and to promote more dialogue with church leaders on the issue of intolerance and discrimination in accordance with Article 17 (2).»

Addressing the Fundamental Rights Agency, it appealed them to «make freedom of religion, speech and conscience a priority of their work.»

The report recommended to the OSCE members to «use all their means to work against intolerance against Christians» and to collaborate «more closely with representatives of Christian churches.»

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