Christians across Europe, including clergy, have experienced hostility, marginalisation and violence, with 500 documented cases of intolerance and discrimination recorded in 2016-17.
The finds come in a report from the Vienna-based Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe.
Its 2018 report states that since 2005, it has documented more than 2,100 cases of Christians killed or attacked for their faith, fired, sued or arrested for exercising their freedom of expression or conscience. Christian-run business have been ruined financially.
Christian student groups have been silenced, and Christian symbols and celebrations have been removed from the public square. Churches across Europe were vandalised, robbed and burned.
A female Afghan Christian convert was stabbed to death in front of her children by an Afghan asylum-seeker in Bavaria on 1 April 2017. Last February the man was convicted of the religiously-motivated murder and imprisoned for life.
Unknown perpetrators set sacred books on fire in the Orthodox church of the Archangel Michael near Lagoliou, Greece, in December 2016, and sprayed ‘Allah is great’ in Arabic on the walls.
A UK Parliamentary inquiry found in July 2016 that British pro-life doctors and nurses face hostility, loss of advancement and pressure to perform or refer for abortions despite legislation guaranteeing their right to conscientiously object.
The Observatory asked all people of good will to respect and tolerate Christianity, and recommended that national governments ensure freedom of religion, and that the EU does not adopt non-discrimination legislation limiting freedom of expression.
It also recommended that international government human rights organisations reported on intolerance and discrimination against Christians, and that journalists don’t perpetrate marginalisation or negative stereotyping of Christians.
The Observatory’s Executive Director said, ‘The fundamental rights of freedom of religion, conscience, and expression are rendered meaningless if they cannot be freely exercised by all Europeans.’