Report on discrimination against Christians in Europe

Centre for Research on intolerance and discrimination against Christians (Non-profit organization registered in Vienna) published on March 19 annual report on the results of 2011. The report reflects the basic facts of violations of religious freedom, and the most striking manifestations of discrimination against Christians in Europe. It also contains statistical information, the statements of various officials and analysis of the meaning of religious freedom in the European context.

President of the Center Gudrun Kugler said, "Studies show that in Europe 85% of crimes committed on the basis of religious intolerance were directed against Christians. It is time for an open public debate on this issue. We note the discriminatory restrictions in the professional field: due to lack of respect the freedom of conscience of Christians excluded from the performance of official duties (including judges, doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists). Teachers and parents of school children also face problems in school when they try to express their opposition to the "sexual ethics" in the form in which it is imposed by the state. Our research shows that only when greater respect for religion in general and Christianity in particular society can rise to the occasion of such fundamental European values, such as respect for freedom. "

Religious freedom in 2011

2011 was marked by public debate about the place of religion in society in relation to a crime of a citizen of Norway, Anders Breivik, which was hastily and unfairly characterized as a manifestation of a "Christian fundamentalist." The opponents of Christianity in this case attempted to draw an analogy with the Muslim terrorism. This hasty and unfounded opinion has been enthusiastically received by the media around the world.

Positive development in 2011 was the hearing before the European Court of Human Rights of the famous "Lautsi case." The Grand Chamber of the European Court of First Instance reversed the decision, stating that the presence of crucifixes in the classrooms of public schools in Italy, a country dominated by the Catholic majority, not the fact of religious propaganda, does not contradict the secular nature of the schools and not an attack on religious freedom, Mr. and Ms. Ms Lautsi.

Another highlight of 2011 was the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, which expresses support for public debate on the issue of intolerance and discrimination against Christians in Europe. The resolution called for a review existing legislation that could potentially backfire against Christians.

The main points of the report

1. The concepts of "intolerance" and "discrimination" to be the most adequate way reflect the essence of the phenomenon which is observed in the West. They point to the denial of equal rights and an attempt to social marginalization of Christians. In the European context is preferable to avoid the use of the word "persecution" to avoid confusion with the crimes committed against Christians in other parts of the world.

2. Statistics tell the extent of the problem:

— 74% of UK respondents said that "Christians are more likely than members of other religions are discriminated against."

— 84% of cases of vandalism in France, which is becoming more widespread, directed against Christian churches. 

— 95% of incidents of sectarian violence in Scotland were directed against Christians.

3. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, aware of this problem, the need for an open, public debate on the issue of intolerance and discrimination against Christians in Europe and calls for a revision of the legislation, which could potentially have an adverse effect or lead to discrimination against Christians.

4. Many officials in 2011 to lift their voice to attract public attention to the rise of intolerance against Christians and with the requirement to realize the need to change the situation.

5. Center in 2011 were registered 180 cases of intolerance and discrimination against Christians that the report is divided into the following categories: Violation of freedom of religion, freedom of speech violation, violation of freedom of conscience; violation of the collective rights of freedom of religion, Christians exception of social and public life; Repression against religious symbols, insults, defamation and negative stereotyping, hate crimes, vandalism and profanity, hate crimes against individuals.

Some statements about intolerance and discrimination against Christians in Europe

"Unfortunately, in some countries, mainly in the West, are increasingly in political and cultural circles, as well as in the media, there are acts of disrespect, hatred or contempt against religion in general and Christianity in particular." Pope Benedict XVI. January 10, 2011.

"The main danger — it attempts to use religious diversity as a pretext for exclusion from the political realities of the continent signs of Christian civilization that supposedly make our continent more friendly to non-Christians." Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, September 12, 2011.

"The right to hold religious beliefs and to act in accordance with his conscience comes into conflict with the right to be offended … and lose ground. The law is no longer the "golden mean". Trying to protect those who are offended, it does not protect the freedom of believers. Should correct this unhealthy imbalance through the courts or Parliament. " Editorial «Daily Telegraph», January 18, 2011.

"It's amazing how many atheists have zero tolerance for those who have faith." Lord Chris Patten, April 12, 2011.

"The attempt to impose religious organizations today dominant model of equality and opposing discrimination in fact destroys religious freedom." Lord Sacks, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, July 4, 2011.

"We have become a country where people can be proud of their faith, where they do not feel compelled to leave their religion at the threshold. It is proud of Christianity, not the depreciation. " Said Baroness Warsi, Cabinet Minister of Great Britain (Muslim), November 1, 2011.

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