-- ZENIT.org News Agency
Intolerance Against Christians Rising in Europe, Says Report
Arts and Media Have Become "New Playground of Intolerance"
VIENNA, May 16, 2014 (Zenit.org) - An organisation monitoring attacks on Christians in Europe has revealed that 241 cases of intolerance were aimed at Christians in 2013, and it warns that the number of incidents is increasing.
The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians published the findings Thursday in a report which also includes recommendations to governments, international institutions and people of different professions.
Dr. Gudrun Kugler, director of the Observatory, said Europe's "increasingly secular society" has "less and less space for Christianity."
She added: "Some governments and players of civil society seek to exclude instead of to accommodate. Countless cases of intolerance against Christians are reported to us. By researching, documenting and publishing these cases, we hope to create an awareness which is a first step towards a remedy."
The Observatory has categorised the 241 cases as "hate-related intolerance, intolerance against Christians in law and politics, and intolerance against Christians in arts and media."
The report says that in recent years, the Observatory has seen "a tremendous number of cases of vandalism against Christian sites and places of worship" but points out such figures are not recorded as "European governments generally do not segregate data with regard to Christianity."
The Observatory says their "limited data" suggests that "hate-related incidents against Christians in Europe are rising" and records 133 cases of vandalism against Christian sites in 11 countries.
Its findings also show that intolerance against Christians in "law and politics" occurs "mainly with regard to limitations of conscientious objection, the curbing of free speech by hate speech legislation, discriminatory equality policies and the limitation of parental rights in the area of sex education, as well as in the area of freedom of assembly."
Last year's report published 41 laws in 14 European countries which hinder the free exercise of faith for Christians.
It also says that the arts and media, as well as social media, have become "a new playground of intolerance" against Christians. Fifteen cases from 6 countries were recorded by the Observatory in 2013.
"Respect is a key term for the understanding of human rights in general and in particular for freedom of religion or belief," the report says. "Reasonable accommodation ought to be the guiding principle in dealing with faith in public.
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A PDF file of the report
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