Hate Crime Against Christians Under-Reported, Says Vatican Representative

Pope Francis waves as he leaves at the end of his Wednesday general audience at St Peter's Square at the Vatican May 22, 2013. ((Photo: Reuters/Tony Gentile))

Hate crime against Christians in Europe is under-reported, a Vatican representative yesterday told a security group yesterday.

The Holy See delegation to the OSCE (organisation for security and co-operation in Europe) made a statement on hate crimes, highlighting the "poor attention given to hate crimes committed against majority communities."

This, plus "the fact that hate crimes motivated by religious bias or prejudice are under-reported and under-recorded ...imply that the hate crimes against members of religions and, especially against Christians, are certainly more numerous than those indicated [in annual reports]," said Monsignor Janusz Urbańczyk, the permanent representative of the Holy See to the OSCE.

The statement highlighted the "very significant number of hate crimes" recorded against Christians and suggested that because it is not a minority faith, they are not considered vulnerable.

"The term 'minorities' is used a synonym of 'victims,' as if the victims could belong only to minority groups," said the delegate.

Other than Christians, Urbańczyk also pointed out anti-semitic crimes are both under-reported and under-prosecuted.

"Anti-semitic hate crimes and hate crime motivated by religious bias or prejudice are mainly perpetrated not against persons, but against properties," said Urbańczyk. "In fact, about 60-70 per cent of such hate crimes were committed against properties.

"Since, in several jurisdictions, crimes against properties are considered less serious than those against persons, there is both the risk of under-recording and a reluctance to investigate and prosecute these crimes," he said.

He urged the OSCE to give more attention to religiously targeted hate crime, especially those against majority faith groups "both in data collection and training programmes for law enforcement."

His statement follows the release of police figures last month which revealed that hate crime against Muslims in London had soared.

This article was originally published in Christian Today. 

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