OSCE conference warns of growing intolerance against Europe’s Christians

September 13, 2011

(Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion (R) addresses an OSCE meeting on hate crimes against Christians. Archbishop Dominique Mamberti is sitting at his right. In Rome, 12 September 2011/OSCE/Jens Eschenbaecher)

European and Christian officials have warned that hate crimes, attacks and intolerance against Christians in Europe were on the rise and could lead to social instability in some areas.  “The climate of fear and suspicion caused by hate crimes has the potential to create insecurity within and between communities …” Janez Lenarcic, an official of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), told a conference in Rome on Monday.

“Hate crimes are a security issue and may contribute to destabilising regional or even inter-state relations,” he told OSCE conference whose title was “Preventing and Responding to Hate Incidents and Crimes Against Christians.” The conference heard reports of growing acts of intolerance against Christians, including attacks on churches in Spain, France and Austria and attacks on anti-abortion activists in Vienna.

Lenarcic, the head of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, said the OSCE was monitoring “hate crimes against Christians, as well as intolerance and discrimination against Christians more broadly” than before (click here for his speech). The conference echoed recent concerns by the Roman Catholic and other Christian Churches over what they see as growing “Christianophobia” in an increasingly secular Europe.

Metropolitan (Archbishop) Hilarion, foreign minister for the Russian Orthodox Church, warned that some in Europe were looking for “an excuse to exclude signs of Christian civilisation from the public and political realities of the continent.” (Click here for his speech in English)

Earlier this year the European Court of Human Rights overturned a controversial 2009 ruling that said schools in predominantly Catholic Italy did not have the right to hang crucifixes in classrooms. The Vatican and Italy led international protests against the initial ruling and won. Hilarion said that episodes such as the Italian crucifix ruling showed that “radical secularism is as dangerous to religious freedom as religious extremism in all its manifestations”.

Last year in France, the erecting of the traditional nativity scene, or creche, in public places caused disputes because some said they violated the country’s principle of “laicite”, or the strict separation of church and state.

Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s foreign minister, said the OSCE reports provided “irrefutable proof of a growing intolerance against Christians” and that authorities could not ignore the warning signs. “Sadly, acts motivated by bias against Christians are fast becoming a reality also in those countries where they constitute
a majority,” Mamberti said.

See also Andrea Tornielli: Even Europe is intolerant towards Christians


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One comment

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Who are responsible for these attacks? I suggest Muslims. If so, why is it not being clarified?

Posted by Meqmac | Report as abusive