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Intolerance towards Christians increases in Europe, claims report
A report into discrimination towards Christians in Europe says there were 325 events of intolerance, such as preachers being arrested and churches vandalised.
The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimiantion Against Christians in Europe release a report each year.
The Observatory report specifically on 325 incidents in its 2018 Hate Crimes Report, released this November.
Executive director Ellen Fantini told Premier: "From our perspective, it seems to be to be getting worse.
"Before the Notre Dame fire there were reports of incidents across France targeting churches. But we've seen that across Europe generally - that places of worship are targeted for vandalism but I would also say that the more invisible incidents involving violations of fundamental rights of Christians are also on the rise."
When asked where the examples were worst, she replied: " I would say that the UK and is particularly concerning, because we've seen a wide range of interference with fundamental rights, everything from the parental rights to educate their children in conformity with their beliefs. So for example, the UK Government guidance requiring relationships education, even to primary school-aged children with no opt-outs is a concern.
"In Ireland and Northern Ireland, we're concerned with the conscience rights for doctors medical professionals not to be forced to refer their patients who are seeking abortions. I would say the censorship zones prohibiting the public, peaceful prayer around abortion clinics, using public space protection orders to censor people who are publicly praying is a concern.
"Then, of course, there is the rejection of asylum claims for converts to Christianity and I would say that there are some signs of hope in the UK relating to improved guidance and training for those making those decisions."
The organisation has called on national governments to ensure the exercise of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and the right to conscientious objection.
One of those arrested in the UK and then let go was Pastor Olu, pictured above, who had his Bible taken away.
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