In 2021, there were 195 attacks on Religious Freedom in Spain compared to 240 cases in 2020, a decrease of 18.75%. These data are collected, verified, recorded and published by the Observatory for Religious Freedom and Freedom of Conscience in the Annual Report released this Thursday.
“However,” explains the president of the Observatory, Maria Garcia, “although the data reflect a quantitative decrease in attacks on Religious Freedom, it is a mirage. What has disappeared is the pandemic, a weapon that some have used abusively against believers”.
And the fact is that, according to the ‘Report on Attacks on Religious Freedom in Spain 2021’, between 2020 and 2021 there have been 45 fewer cases. “But these 45 cases,” explains the president of the Observatory, “occurred in 2020 using covid as a pretext”. According to the Observatory, if we compare the data on attacks recorded in 2019 and 2021 and make a break in 2020, we see that attacks against religious denominations and believers are on the rise. “Therefore, we have gone from 175 cases in 2019 to 195 in 2021; that is, an increase of more than 11%, once the ‘pandemic’ factor has been eliminated,” clarifies María García.
Catholics, in the spotlight
Other data from the report show that more than 67% of the attacks were directed against Catholics, which is the majority religion in the country. Of the registered cases, 146 were against Christians (of which 132 against Catholics), 12 against Muslims and 7 against Jews. The remaining 30 cases involved several or all of the following confessions. By typology, attacks on religious freedom in Spain in 2021 are classified as follows:
- 2 cases of violence against believers
- 25 attacks on places of worship
- 22 harassments of believers
- 49 instances of scorn to religion
- 97 cases of belligerent secularism.
PSOE and Unidas Podemos, at the forefront of the attacks
The Report also reflects the responsibility of the political parties in the attacks against Religious Freedom: “The parties that govern the nation are the ones that agglutinate the highest number of attacks against religious freedom in our country, with the PSOE and Unidas Podemos at the head, and the not inconsiderable figure of 31 cases produced under their responsibility, followed by Izquierda Unida, a political formation that authored 30 attacks”, details the president of the Observatory for Religious Freedom and Freedom of Conscience.
By autonomous communities, Andalusia (26 cases), Madrid (24) and Valencia (16) lead the ranking of attacks on religious freedom. “Respect for religious freedom not only benefits believers, but also favors society as a whole, by promoting peaceful coexistence among all citizens. This reality is fundamental and is far removed from any kind of ideological or political approach,” concludes Maria Garcia.