A group of youths attacked a Roman Catholic church in the Swedish town of Ystad, throwing rocks at church-goers during an evening mass.
The attack took place on Saturday evening, according to Father Eugeniusz Machnica, who said that three large rocks were thrown through the window of the church, one of which came close to hitting one of the parishioners. Witnesses say the culprits behind the attack were three male youths who fled the area after throwing the rocks.
Father Machnica claimed he did not believe the incident was motivated by ideology, Nyheter Idag reports.
“Drunk young people often walk along this route. It is difficult to assess whether it [the attack] had anything to do with the church,” he suggested.
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A parishioner called local police, but none came, with authorities claiming there were no police cars available.
Limited police budgets in Sweden, particularly in rural areas, have meant many police stations have been short on resources, including police vehicles. In 2017, it was reported that the region of Southern Lapland has only one police car to cover an area nearly the size of Denmark.
The incident is not the first attack on Christians in Sweden. In January, a Syrian Orthodox church in Norrköping was attacked by unknown perpetrators in an apparent arson attempt.
Isa Gergin, spokesman and caretaker for the Syrian Orthodox St Maria’s church, said that there had been similar attacks in December of last year, as well.
Last week, Ellen Fantini, director of the Vienna-based Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe (OIDACE), noted a rise in anti-Christian attacks in several European countries, including Sweden.
“As we have noted in the past, Christians in Europe are not simply experiencing social discrimination, prejudice, or restrictions on freedom. Christians, including clergy, have been attacked or killed for their faith. As in previous years, we have continued to see threats and attacks against Christian converts from Islam,” an OIDACE report said.
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