Dangerous Trends in Hate Crimes Against Jews and Christians

Below is the intervention read this morning by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, representing Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Session 12: “Tolerance and non-discrimination II, including prevention and responses to hate crimes, aggressive nationalism and chauvinism”.

Statement by Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa
OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
Working Session 12: Tolerance and Non-Discrimination II

Warsaw, September 30, 2014eswwarsaw2014

BPE welcomes with great pleasure the recent demonstration in Berlin against anti-Semitism, which was graced by the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. This event, which also expressed support for Israel’s right to defend herself against terrorist forces, marks a new high point in awareness of this rising problem. Similar manifestations in Denmark have received significant media attention, which is good.

While not nearly as bad as in many Middle Eastern countries, intolerance and harassment against Christians is a rising problem in several OSCE pS [participating States]. The rising awareness of anti-semitism is good news, but similar awareness of ‘Christianophobia’ is needed. Intolerance of Christians on religious grounds is on the rise, and this needs countering.

Danish media are reporting that in many cases Christians of immigrant background are being persecuted and even threatened with stoning, interestingly to great extent by immigrants of Muslim background. This happens also among asylum seekers, who should be escaping persecution, not propagating it. While the situation is nothing like the catastrophic levels we are witnessing in the Middle East, it would appear that the Middle Eastern conflict patterns are being replicated in European states. This must be addressed.

It is worth noting that Islamic groups (in particular Salafist) have taken upon themselves to denigrate Jews and Christians. This inter-religious tension and conflict deserves attention and action from our secular states and institutions. Identifying not only the victims of hate crimes but also their sources should be standard operating procedure.

BPE recommends:

·        That statistics be made not only about the victims of hate crimes, also about the perpetrators, in order to identify if any political or religious group appears to be causing particular problems in the field, and as a basis for further legal action if this is the case.

·        That OSCE pS undertake a vetting of Islamic organizations in the political sphere to ensure that they do not give rise to radical views on adherents of other religions, and in particular that their literature and other material be investigated for endorsement of such views.

·        That OSCE pS call upon Islamic organizations to issue official statements that harassment of and hate crimes against Jews, Christians or other non-Muslims is against the teachings of Islam, and that such intolerance of other religions cannot be tolerated.

For links to previous articles about the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, see the OSCE Archives.