Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
A few days after Muslim migrants firebombed an 800-year-old Swedish church twice over the course of four days—once on Jan. 20, 2021 and another on Jan. 24—a Feb 4 report came out saying that 829 “hate crimes” against churches in Sweden have been reported between just 2012-2018, or about 138 attacks on average every year.
Thus the churches of Sweden join those of other Western European nations that have taken in sizeable Muslim migrants. In France, for example, two churches are vandalized every day. According to a 2019 PI-News report, 1,063 attacks on Christian churches or symbols (crucifixes, icons, statues) were registered in France in 2018. This represents a 17 percent increase compared to the previous year (2017), when 878 attacks were registered—meaning such attacks are only going from bad to worse.
They are also getting increasingly vile. As one example, vandals used human excrement to draw a cross on the Notre-Dame des Enfants Church in Nimes in 2019 (pictured above); consecrated bread was also found thrown outside among garbage. One week later, vandals desecrated and smashed crosses and statues at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur; they mangled the arms of a crucified Christ in a mocking manner and burned altar materials.
Similar reports are coming from Germany. After reporting how four separate churches were vandalized and/or torched over the course of four weeks in 2019, PI-News, a German news site, explained: “In this country, there is a creeping war against everything that symbolizes Christianity: attacks on summit crosses, on holy figures on the way, on churches and recently also on cemeteries.”
Although mainstream media regularly claim that the vandals—who are seldom caught to verify their identities—are “mentally ill” or part of “right wing extremist” groups, as the recent Swedish report states, PI-News offers a hint: “Crosses are broken, altars smashed, Bibles lit, baptismal fonts overturned, and the church doors smeared with Islamic expressions like ‘Allahu Akbar.’”
Similarly, another German language report from late 2017 noted that in the Alps and in Bavaria alone, some 200 churches have been attacked and many crosses broken: “Police are currently dealing with church desecrations again and again. The perpetrators are often youthful rioters with a migration background.”
Another telling indicator is that those European regions with large Muslim migrant populations often see a concomitant rise in attacks on churches and Christian symbols. Before Christmas, 2016, in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany, where more than a million Muslim migrants reside, some 50 public statues of Jesus and other Christian figures were beheaded and crucifixes broken.
In 2015, following the arrival of another million Muslim migrants to Dülmen, a local newspaper said “not a day goes by” without attacks on Christian statues.
France, where one of Europe’s largest Muslim populations resides—and where churches are attacked every single day—is also indicative that where Muslim numbers grow, so do attacks on churches. A January 2017 study revealed that “Islamist extremist attacks on Christians” in France rose by 38 percent, going from 273 attacks in 2015 to 376 in 2016; the majority occurred during Christmas season and “many of the attacks took place in churches and other places of worship.”
As a typical example, in 2014 a Muslim man committed “major acts of vandalism” inside a historic Catholic church in Thonon-les-Bains. According to the report with pictures (since removed) he “overturned and broke two altars, the candelabras and lecterns, destroyed statues, tore down a tabernacle, twisted a massive bronze cross, smashed in a sacristy door and even broke some stained-glass windows.” He also “trampled on” the Eucharist.
Should there still be any doubt concerning the true identity of those most responsible for vandalizing churches throughout Europe, one need only turn to the treatment of churches in the Muslim world itself, or even in areas that have very large Muslim populations.
Thus, Muslims in Kenya torched five separate churches between Jan. 20 and Jan. 24—the very same days Muslims twice firebombed an 800-year-old church in Sweden. “A majority of the church members were afraid to attend services [in or near the ruins] in the aftermath of the burning of the churches, fearing that the arsonists might follow them right into their homes, risking the lives of their families,” a local source said.
As occurred when vandals in France used human excrement to draw a cross on the Notre-Dame des Enfants Church in 2019, so these Kenyan arsonists also “committed the heinous acts of scooping human feces onto the buildings,” the source added.
The fact is, the vile desecration of churches (including with human excrement) has for centuries been a Muslim trademark—a sort of “Islam was here.” As copiously documented in Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, during their invasions of Christian nations, Muslims ritually desecrated hundreds of thousands of churches (Caliph Hakim b’amr Allah alone reportedly destroyed 30,000 churches during the early eleventh century). Think what ISIS did but on an exponential level—and not for a handful of years but for over a millennium in dozens of nations spread out over three continents.
Most recently, according to a Feb. 17, 2021 report, the ninth church to be torched in Muslim-majority Sudan recently occurred. Before it was set aflame, local Muslims shed light as to why they attack churches: “In every city or village where Muslims live, they should not allow anything that belongs to infidels such as church buildings to be there,” one Muslim wrote on social media; another insisted that, wherever Muslims allow the existence of a church, that place becomes “disgraced.” In short, and in the words of the Rev. Kuwa Shamal, of the Sudanese Church of Christ, “They targeted the church because they do not want to see any sign of the cross in the area.”
As seen from what is happening to churches throughout Western Europe, at least some Muslim migrants share this sentiment, despite being minorities in and guests of the West.