A report shows that there were also 589 against Jews, and 213 to Muslims . “Physical violence is on the increase”, said an evangelical leader.
Hate towards people because of their faith is increasing in France, according to the initial findings of the investigation carried out by two MPs, ordered by French Prime Minister Jean Castex.
La République En Marche (the Republic on the Move, LERM) and MoDem (democratic movement) MPs, Ludovic Mendes and Isabelle Florennes, presented their report in a press conference on 10 February, after over thirty interviews with religious representatives, police and judicial authorities, and four trips to Strasbourg, Sarcelles, Lyon and Nantes.
They counted 1659 anti-religious acts in 2021: 857 acts were against Christians, 589 against Jews, and 213 attacks against Muslims.The latter have grown by 38% compared to 2019. Those data consolidate the provisional assessment presented in December by the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin.
“There has been a rise in hatred over the past ten years, which is getting worse both face to face and online”, Mendes pointed out.
The two MPs explained that “every denomination that was interviewed described a society that is becoming more and more hateful and violent” towards them.
Furthermore,“the small daily aggressions are more and more frequent. Unfortunately, many seem to be getting used to it, or rather learning to live with it”, added Mendes.
They underlined that this rise in hatred and violence “is fuelled by political discourse, with a speech that no longer has any limits”, and advocated for "a better education about religions”.
Romain Choisnet, communications director of the National Council of Evangelicals in France (CNEF) commented on the study on twitter, stressing that “for a long time, anti-Christian acts consisted of damage to or theft from places of worship, which still account for most of the incidents, but physical violence is on the increase”.
Actes anti-chrétiens :
Longtemps, ils ont consisté en des dégradations ou vols dans les lieux de culte – qui représentent encore l’essentiel des faits. Mais les violences physiques se multiplient.
— Romain CHOISNET (@comcnef) February 11, 2022
Amid a country divided over the recent and controversial appointment of the Christian philosopher Mark Sherringham as the head of the Higher Council for School Programmes (CSP), the French MPs “hope that the debate on religions in schools will not be refused, because secularism is not about hiding religion”.
Ludovic Mendes and Isabelle Florennes will deliver their final report in early March.
Note: This article has been corrected - the growth of 38% compared to 2019 was not related to general anti-religious attacks but to anti-Muslim attacks.