A Muslim man has been arrested after he climbed onto the roof of a London church and tore down a Christian cross.
Video of the incident, which was uploaded to social media, shows the man on top of Chadwell Heath Baptist Church in Romford on Sunday attempting to break down the wooden cross that stood over the church entrance.
Barking and Dagenham Police said in a statement that they were aware of the video and have arrested a male in relation to the criminal damage.
Sadly, this incident is not an abnormality in the United Kingdom. New figures, provided by the Countryside Alliance, revealed more than 5,000 crimes were committed on religious premises in the past 12 months. This includes rape, theft, vandalism, assault, and burglary.
The Metropolitan Police recorded 1,106 crimes committed in religious locations which included 250 cases of violence against other individuals, 273 burglaries, 188 offences of arson and criminal damage and 371 thefts.
According to the Daily Mail, Mo Metcalf-Fisher of the Countryside Alliance said: “The latest set of figures, out only a year after the incredibly distressing numbers in 2019, make for horrific reading.
“We cannot risk being engulfed by a church crime wave and clearly more needs to be done to tackle this problem.
“Taking into account that during some of this year, the country was in lockdown, it is chilling to learn that criminals either acting alone or in gangs have taken advantage of this awful pandemic and continued to target rural churches.”
The UK is not alone either. Last year it was reported that hundreds of churches across France had been targeted by anti-Christian “militants” who had set fire to places of worship, stolen property, and smeared feces on walls and crosses.
Figures released by French police revealed that a staggering 875 churches were vandalized in 2018. A further 129 churches reported property theft, while up to 59 cemeteries were intentionally damaged.
In February alone, a record 47 documented attacks were recorded on churches and religious sites in France.
“There is a rising hostility in France against the church and its symbols,” Ellen Fantini, executive director of Observatory of Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, told Newsweek. “It seems to be more against Christianity and the symbols of Christianity.”
According to the Ministry of Interior, authorities recorded 1,063 anti-Christian acts in 2018. In contrast, anti-Muslim acts reached a record low since 2010, with a total of 100 acts.