Posted on Dec 11, 2021
A recently published report by the Vienna-based Observatory on Intolerance against Christians in Europe (OIDAC) shows how hate crimes targeting Christians are on the rise across Europe.
In Germany, instances have risen by almost 150% in the period covered by the report - 2019-20 - compared to a background increase of 19%.
The figures were submitted by the German police and Federal Statistics Office to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental body.
The report says the two main threats come from 'Islamic oppression' and 'secular intolerance'.
‘Islamic Oppression’ is described as ‘a specific radical and political dynamic within the Muslim community that perceives other religions or cultural forms as a threat to their own culture. Therefore, members of this group will oppose and if possible, oppress any other ideology, religion, culture, or politics that does not align with what they consider the “true and only” Islamic teachings. Islamic oppression can threaten Christians through intimidation or in rare cases violent attacks.’
Islamic Oppression, the report says, ‘can mostly be seen in what we call “hotspot areas” of European cities and suburbs, where they impose unique legal and moral codes, which are often in contradiction to democratic principles and human rights. In many cases, they use coercion and threats against Christian converts on all levels of life (private, family, communal and political).
‘Other threats are incitement to violence and discrimination against other religions, the Western secular state, and the use of violence against converts, churches, Christian groups, and/or Christian individuals. In addition, due to a demographic change in these growing areas, Christians become a cultural minority that is then marginalised and displaced from the area.’
Medially and politically, hatred of Christians is hardly noticed as an increasingly obvious social problem. The OSCE report reflects only part of this trend, which we have been documenting for years, and yet it is a loud wake-up call against indifference and fashionable Christian-bashing.
Muslims who have converted to Christianity are at particular risk. One such convert in France is quoted by the report as saying: ‘In the middle of the Summer, I had a cross, and, on the subway, I was verbally assaulted by a Muslim man who called me names because he saw that I (wear a) cross around my neck. In the working- class districts where there is a strong Muslim community, you do not go out with your cross.’
In Europe, the report notes, Christianity is in decline whilst the percentage of non-believers and Muslims has risen.
Radicalisation is rife, and is not being addressed adequately. Those who speak out can find themselves accused of racism or Islamaphobia.
A prominent case reported by OIDAC was the experience of British Christian Chaplain Paul Song, who faced strong intimidation during his time working as a prison chaplain in the South London jail HMP Brixton. Chaplain Strong described being in a state of ‘near-constant fear’ and recalled one incident when an Islamic group stormed his gathering in the chapel and began praising the jihadist who had murdered the soldier Lee Rigby in the street.
After he spoke out about these events he was banned from working in London jails. ‘What has happened to me has set a dangerous precedent for anyone else who dares to tell the public about the growing domination of Islamic extremism in our prisons. I am determined to fight for justice,’ he said.
Elsewhere, Christians living in hotspot areas such as Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford, Leicester and East London are being pressured to take part in non-Christian religious ceremonies, activities, events, customs and they have to be cautious about how they dress. They refrain from organising public Christian celebrations in their communities to avoid ‘causing offence.’
In the UK today Sharia law may now be used in mediation for disputes concerning marriage and finance and, according to the OIDC, as many as 85 sharia councils operate parallel to the national legal system, mostly in urban centres with a significant Muslim population.
Attacks on Christians and desecration of churches and monuments are not only carried out by radical Islamists, the report emphasises, but also by diverse groups such as 'Satanists, Anarchists, and radical left groups, such as radical Feminists and LGBTQ+ groups.'
The secularisation of Europe has also led to 'secular intolerance' - the marginalisation or discriminatory exclusion of religion and belief from the public and private domain.
'Hate Speech' legislation can be and often is used to limit freedom of expression and challenge the concept of parental rights when it comes to Christian teaching. In Finland recently a Protestant bishop and a member of the national Parliament faced charges for publicly stating what the Bible teaches about sex and marriage.
On December 9th of this year the European Commission published a proposal 'to extend the list of ‘EU crimes' to hate speech and hate crime.'
The proposal refers to an 'increase in the level of hatred manifested against for example of Roma, Jews, Muslims and persons of Asian origin, or those perceived to be of such origin...'
No mention is made of hatred manifested against Christians, and indeed in November the European Commission itself issued a guideline (subsequently withdrawn) that the word 'Christmas' should not be used in official communications lest it offend practitioners of other religions.
EU Member States are already obliged to criminalise hate speech, i.e. the public incitement to violence or hatred, on grounds of race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.
However, in schools and in most public spaces in Europe Christianity now appears to have no place. As the continent continues to undergo radical demographic change, radical Islam might likely seek to fill that void.
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