News from Europe

Over 400 acts of vandalism against Christian symbols in Belgium every year

On December 21,2019, a Christmas crib was burned in the village of Saive (Liege region). One week later, a similar event took place in Brussels. The local police called it a "criminal act". Another crib was set on fire in the Belgian capital on January 6, 2020. These are just a few examples of the vandalism and destruction to which symbols of Christianity are being subjected to in the country of Father Damien.


Tommy Scholtes, spokesman of the Belgian Catholic church expressed that “in general, we consider these acts as simple vandalism done by youngsters rather than acts of hatred specifically targeting Christianity”. 

However, it is worth mentioning that violence against Christian symbols is extremely high in comparison with that against the Muslim or Jewish minority. In 2018 alone, an official report from the Federal Police shows that 220 churches have been subjected to volontary deteriorations (for at total of 4298), as well as 188 cemeteries, 11 convents and 2 abbeys. In the meantime, similar acts of vandalism were perpetrated against 8 temples, 4 mosques and 4 buildings of the Jewish community. 

Furthermore, it is interesting to notice that despite being the main target of discrimination, Christians do not complain much about it. “Ninety percent of the complaints we receive concern Muslims”, explains Patrick Charlier, vice-director of Unia (organisation fighting disrimination, xenophobia and racism).


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