“Religious freedom is gravely threatened in Europe, especially that of Christians.”
That’s the verdict of Todd Huizinga, a former US diplomat and now senior fellow for Europe at the Religious Freedom Institute in Washington DC.
His comments are in a new report that found more than 500 anti-Christian ‘hate crimes’ were officially documented across Europe last year although the actual number is likely to have been significantly higher.
It was compiled by The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe (OIDAC).
While it was just over half almost 1,000 ‘hate crimes’ documented in 2020, OIDAC concludes many European Christians are keeping quiet about their faith and incidents of persecution.
It found anti-Christian ‘hate crimes’ occurring in 19 European countries with relatively few resulting in murder or violent physical assault.
OIDAC also reported negative stereotyping of Christians and insensitivity towards them by media and political groups especially in the case of Spanish Catholics.
It found believers being banned from social media platforms for expressing their beliefs while insults and violent speech against Christians were allowed.
The report also noted that new ‘hate speech’ laws have undermined the right to freedom of speech in some countries triggering unjustified arrests and self-censorship by Christians which has led to limited reporting of ‘hate crimes’ by victims and the mainstream media.
This was most evident in France which had the highest number of anti-Christian ‘hate crimes’ documented by OIDAC at 124 whereas the French police recorded more than seven times as many incidents (857) as ‘hate crimes’.
In the OIDAC report France was followed by Germany (112), Italy (92), Poland (60) and the UK (40).
It found that on average, two Christian sites (places of worship or cemeteries) are attacked every day in Europe and that the total number of direct attacks on individuals rose from 42 in 2019 to 66 in 2021, which included 12 incidents involving physical violence in France.
Todd Huizinga wrote that: “The greatest threat arises out of relativism. Now that relativism is the reigning worldview in the West. It has developed its own rigid, absolutist dogma, one that, in the name of a false tolerance, brooks no opposition. A central tenet of that dogma is that sexual minorities, LGBT and gender-fluid individuals are oppressed minorities whose views must be affirmed.”
“What has evolved in these countries is no longer neutrality towards all religions but the development of hostility towards religion.”