Hate crimes against Christianity and its followers in Europe — formerly and for centuries the guardian and disseminator of Christ’s teachings — are at an all-time high. According to a recent report, at least a quarter of all hate crimes registered in Europe in 2020 were anti-Christian in nature — representing a 70% increase in comparison to 2019. Christianity is, furthermore, the religion most targeted in hate crimes, with Judaism a close second.
Worse, the true number of hate crimes against Christians is likely even higher. As the Nov. 16, 2021 report by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) explains (boldface in original):
24 states report data on hate crimes committed due to racism or xenophobia, 20 on LGBT groups, 16 states on anti-Semitism, and 14 on incidents against Muslims, but only 11 countries report data on hate crimes against Christians, and this obviously distorts the statistics significantly. Furthermore, of the 136 civil society organisations that provided descriptive data, only 8 organisations (!) consistently reported incidents against Christians. Both of these findings put the reality of the situation into a different perspective, which indicates that the actual number of hate crimes against Christians is probably way higher. When comparing the numbers of incidents from last year to the number of this year, we can see an increase of almost 70%. What is also striking, is the fact that of the 4,008 descriptive cases [of 2020], 980 are hate crimes against Christians, almost 25%, more than against any other religious group.
Indeed, whereas 980 hate crimes were anti-Christian in nature, 850 were anti-Semitic and only 254 anti-Islamic. But as the report explained, the true numbers are probably significantly higher — for whereas the majority of racial, anti-Islamic, or anti-homosexual attacks are reported as such, a great number of anti-Christian attacks are not. Even so and despite this discrepancy, attacks on Christians are still greater than against any other religious group.
Discussing these findings, Madeleine Enzlberger, head of Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe, said, “The media and politicians do not see the rise in hatred of Christians in Europe as a growing social problem. The OSCE report shows only part of this problem, yet it sends a very clear signal against indifference and the almost fashionable bashing of Christians.”
After offering the OSCE’s formal definition of “hate crimes” — “An offense against a particular group or a prejudice against a particular group that serves as a motive to commit certain crimes against this group” — Danish journalist Sonja Dahlmans elaborates,
This can be the destruction of Christian buildings such as churches or schools, but also Christian symbols such as a crucifix or a statue of Mary. It may also involve violent crimes against Christians, such as the attack on Orthodox priest Nikolas Kakavelakis in the French city of Lyon and the murder of Sir David Amess, a conservative Roman Catholic member of the British Parliament. Amess was murdered [by a Muslim youth] in a church during public conversations with his supporters. … The conclusion is that there are more and more anti-Christian hate crimes in Europe, but that the full state of affairs is unknown because not everything is reported to the competent authorities.
The growing number of hate crimes against Christians in Europe is consistent with other reports. Open Doors’ World Watch List, which annually ranks the 50 nations that most persecute Christians for their faith, has been consistently recording ever-growing numbers around the world. According to its 2021 statistics, “more than 340 million” Christians “experience high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith.” This represents a 31% increase from 2020 when only “260 million Christians experience[ed] high levels of persecution.” That represented a 6% increase from 2019 when the number was only 245 million Christians. And that represented a 14% increase from 2018 when 215 million was the number. In other words, between just 2018 and 2021, the persecution of Christians has shot up by nearly 60% around the world.
Who is responsible for this dramatic spike in anti-Christian sentiment? Although many groups affiliated with the so-called “left” are increasingly behind these hate crimes — from Antifa and BLM to neo-pagans — the lions’ share still goes to Islam. For every consecutive year, as many as 40 of the 50 worst nations ranked by the World Watch annual reports have been Islamic.
While European nations rarely if ever make the top 50, it only follows that the more Europe’s Muslim population grows, the more phenomena intrinsic to the Islamic world — from attacks on churches and crosses to the rape and forced conversion of Christian women — will grow with it, based on Islam’s Rule of Numbers.
Nor is this assertion merely deductive or conjectural. European regions with large Muslim migrant populations often see a concomitant rise in attacks on churches and Christian symbols. Consider Germany, where, according to the recent OSCE report, anti-Christian hate crimes have more than doubled since 2019; it too just so happens to have one of the largest Muslim populations of Western Europe — one that has exponentially grown in recent years.
Thus, according to a late 2017 German-language report, in the Alps and in Bavaria alone, some 200 churches were attacked and many crosses were broken: “Police are currently dealing with church desecrations again and again,” the report relayed, before honestly adding, “The perpetrators are often youthful rioters with a migration background.” Before Christmas 2016, in the North Rhine-Westphalia region, where more than a million Muslim migrants reside, some 50 public statues of Jesus and other Christian figures were beheaded and crucifixes were broken. In 2015, following the arrival of another million Muslim migrants to Dülmen, a local newspaper said “not a day goes by” without attacks on Christian statues.
France, another Western nation that holds a significantly large Muslim population — and where two churches are reportedly attacked every single day, some with human feces — is also indicative that where Muslim numbers grow, so do attacks on Christianity, especially cowardly, anonymous ones on churches. A January 2017 study revealed that “Islamist extremist attacks on Christians” in France rose by 38%, going from 273 attacks in 2015 to 376 in 2016; the majority occurred during the Christmas season, and “many of the attacks took place in churches and other places of worship.” (For more on the plight of churches in increasingly Islamizing Europe, see here.)
Of course, just as most hate crimes against Christians are not recorded as such, so too are the identities of those most committing these crimes often left out. Moreover, in a climate where the media do everything possible to conceal the identities of Muslim criminals caught red-handed, surely there will not be a peep to suggest that Muslims might be responsible when the evidence is not concrete.
After all, the “news” is all about maintaining the narrative, one that paints Christians as aggressors and anyone and everyone else as victims — Muslims chief among them.
Raymond Ibrahim, an expert in Islamic history and doctrine, is author of Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West (2018); Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013); and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). He has appeared on C-SPAN, Al-Jazeera, CNN, NPR, and PBS, and been published by the New York Times Syndicate, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Weekly Standard, Chronicle of Higher Education, and Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst. Formerly an Arabic linguist at the Library of Congress, Ibrahim has guest lectured at many universities, including the U.S. Army War College, briefed governmental agencies such as U.S. Strategic Command, and testified before Congress. He has been a visiting fellow/scholar at a variety of Institutes—from the Hoover Institution to the National Intelligence University—and is currently a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute. His full biography is available here. Follow Raymond at Twitter and Facebook.