The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has published its annual report, which shows that the number of religious hate crimes continues to increase. Christians are their target in all of the OSCE member states. It is shaped, amongst others, by the political and media marginalisation of this social group or presenting its detrimental image. This year’s report mentions hate crimes against Christians in as many as 32 states, with a total number of almost 600.
The number of acts of violence has increased compared to previous years. In comparison to 2017, it is almost 20% higher. The most hate crimes were related to religious objects and property, 56 cases were threats, and 80 incidents were violent attacks.
Last year, the number of reported hate crimes against Christians in Poland was 35, most of which were reported thanks to the activity of the Ordo Iuris Centre for Religious Freedom. The report submitted to OSCE contained 40 cases of hate crimes against Christians in Poland. Among them, six were related to an assault on a clergyman, both during the service or in the street. The most dangerous of them took place in Wrocław, where the assailant stabbed a priest entering a church.
Three other cases involved battery of a priest in various parts of Poland. Numerous cases of property crimes against Christian objects of worship were also mentioned. Vandalising of wayside shrines and monuments to John Paul II or setting fire to a church in Biskupiec were among the cases listed in the OSCE report.
“We must bear in mind that it is difficult to define the actual scale of Christophobia, because a lot of such incidents are not reported at all. In Europe, as well as globally, the rate of intolerance towards Christians is gradually increasing, which is reflected in the growing number of increasingly violent attacks. Nevertheless, the problem of religious hate crimes is still beyond the scope of political debates,” said Weronika Przebierała from the Ordo Iuris Institute.
Every year, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe publishes a report based on data collected by the member states and NGOs operating in their territory. It contains a list of events considered in the country as a crime motivated by prejudice because of a particular characteristic of the victim. For five years, Ordo Iuris lawyers have been actively participating in the reporting by collecting information on the scale of Christophobia in Poland and notifying OSCE about cases of religious aggression against Christians.
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