After decades of migration from the war-torn Middle East, churches in Europe have been under attack by migrants, being vandalized and desecrated.
In Greece alone, from 2015-2020, there were 2,339 incidents of Orthodox Church desecrations, accounting for more than 92% of cases among all religious groups in 2020, according to Greece's Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.
"There appears to be a correlation between the increase in illegal migration and the incidents of attacks on Greek Orthodox religious churches and religious spaces during the five-year period which occurred during the peak of the migration crisis," according to the Greek City Times translation of the report.
The report defined desecrations as acts of "vandalism, burglary, theft, sacrilege, necromancy, robbery, placement of explosive devices, and other acts of desecration."
St. Catherine Church in Moria, a small town on the island of Lesvos, Muslim migrants transformed into a "toilet," flooding with migrants arriving from Turkey, the Times reported in 2020.
"The smell inside is unbearable," a local said. "The metropolitan of Mytilene is aware of the situation in the area, nevertheless, he does not wish to deal with it for his own reasons."
The Times reported the acts of desecration on a deeply religious society have the Greek people questioning their compassion for migrants who are proving unwilling "to integrate and conform to the norms and values of their new countries," according to the Times.
Among the most recent data on the attacks, there were 404 attacks on religious spaces in Greece in 2020, according to the report. Christianity accounted for 385 of them:
- Orthodox Church: 374 incidents – 92.57% of the total.
- Catholic Church: 7 incidents – 1.73%.
- "Genuine" Orthodox Christians (G.O.H.): 4 incidents, 0.99%.
Judaism reported 10 incidents of a racist of antisemitic nature, 2.48% of the total, while Islam reported nine cases (2.23%).
"We should remember that Greece spent 400 years under Turkish Islamic rule and that the fight for freedom was bloody," the Times reported in 2021. "With that in mind it is even more dramatic seeing these images of fighting-age migrants desecrating Greek holy places and having no respect for the country they are allegedly seeking refuge in."
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