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The wave of hatred towards Christians in Poland is getting stronger. Ordo Iuris report to the OSCE

Published: 31.03.2020

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The number of acts of hostility against Christians in Poland is increasing. In 2019, there were physcial attacks on priests, including those with the use of a knife, disrupting services or devastating objects of worship. There were also numerous anti-Christian provocations by LGBT activists. Ordo Iuris Religious Freedom Centre has once again submitted to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe an annual report on acts of hostility towards Christians in Poland. The Institute's monitoring program has detected 40 such cases.

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The report covers cases of vandalism and devastation of chapels, altars, Stations of the Cross, religious figures and cemeteries, offending religious feelings by explicit insults, provocations and interruptions in services. They were described by local media or documented by private individuals. This has been the highest number of religious crimes against Christians in Poland to date since the beginning of the reporting process.

The events listed by Ordo Iuris in the current report include six cases of physical assault on a priest during ministry or on the street, including a knife attack or criminal battery. These crimes took place in Warsaw, Wrocław, Szczecin, Turek, Częstochowa and Mosina. There were also cases of devastation of figures in roadside chapels in Katowice-Panewniki, the Stations of the Cross in Trzebnica and even setting fire to the church in Biskupiec.

2019 was also filled with numerous provocations by LGBT activists, who committed many hate crimes towards Christians and the Catholic Church. The report contains a description of attempts to disturb the service in Świdnica or Płock. After the "equality march" in Gdańsk, due to glaring provocations and iconoclastic anti-Christian banners, these acts were condemned by current city officials. Also, in connection with the mass spread of images of Our Lady of Częstochowa, insulted by the halo in the colours of the LGBT movement, the Center of Religious Freedom received dozens of reports from all over Poland with requests to help in editing the notification on the possibility of committing religious offense.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has been conducting research and analysis on the scale of the phenomenon of hatred towards various social groups for several years. Ordo Iuris lawyers have been participating in the OSCE reporting process since 2015 by examining the situation of believers in Poland in the context of monitoring violations of religious freedom and acts of religious violence against Christians. In 2018, Ordo Iuris Religious Freedom Centre was officially established for this purpose. In this place all reports on violations of religious freedom, offenses against religious feelings, insults, harassment, vandalism or other devastations of places or religious symbols are collected.

The OSCE report is published every year in mid-November. It collects information about hate crimes, which may include, among others deeds such as threats, property damage, assaults, murders or any other offenses motivated by hatred or prejudice. In addition, it is a prerequisite that the act must be prohibited by law and constitute a criminal offense under national law. These requirements are justified by the need to create a common standard which would allow real verification and comparison of the scale of hate crime in European countries.

 "Unfortunately, data from previous Ordo Iuris reports submitted to the OSCE indicate that each year the number of hate crimes directed at Christians and Christian symbols in Poland is increasing. 2019 was exceptionally infamous in this respect. This is due to the fact that we experienced not only intentional insults of the sacred symbols or images of the Most Holy Virgin Mary and the malevolent disturbing and interrupting of services, but also physical assaults on priests and believers. These included fatal attacks", emphasises Karina Bosak, Director of the Ordo Iuris Religious Freedom Centre.

You can report to the Ordo Iuris, cases of offenses motivated by prejudice against Christianity and any unpleasant incidents experienced by believers because of their Christian denomination. The Institute is also involved in providing legal support and proceeding intervention wherever necessary. You can inform about such cases by sending an email on cwr@ordoiuris.pl.

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