French Government, Media Largely Silent About Rising Church Vandalism
While French authorities have already ruled out arson, the catastrophic fire that engulfed the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris on the Monday of Holy Week sparked widespread concern about deliberate acts of desecration against other irreplaceable houses of worship in France.
The executive director of a watchdog group that monitors discrimination against Christians in Europe described the alarming increase of church vandalism in France, in an interview with The Daily Caller. She also expressed concern at the government and media response to such incidents.
Ellen Fantini, of the Vienna-based Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, confirmed to the Caller that acts of church vandalism have indeed risen in recent years in what was once the heart of Christendom.
The Observatory’s latest annual report compiled short descriptions of more than 500 reported anti-Christian incidents throughout Europe in 2016 and 2017. The examples of intolerance and discrimination range from social and legal pressure to explicit violence and aggression. The section on France spans 13 pages, more than any other country.
France saw more than 2,000 “anti-Christian” acts in 2017 and 2018, according to official figures from the French Ministry of the Interior. “The Ministry did not specify what those ‘acts’ were,” Fantini said, adding that the Ministry told a fact-checking website that “they did not want to provide details ‘to prevent them from being manipulated.’”