I have often written of the plight of Christians generally, and Catholic specifically, in many parts of the world, especially in countries with large Muslim and Hindu majorities. I’ve also spoken of the less dangerous levels of persecution that exist in what have traditionally been Christian countries, either in name or understood to be such because of the overwhelming number of Christians who lives in those countries.
Well, it seems Scotland is a “shining light” in that latter category, as this report from The Tablet shows:
Catholics in Scotland are victims of more religious hate crime than any other group in the country, according to a report released on Friday.
Statistics released by the Scottish government revealed an increase of 26 per cent in religious hate crimes in 2011-2012. Anti-Catholic attacks – which made up 58.1 per cent of all religious hate crimes – were more prevalent than attacks on all other religious groups combined.
The Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, said that Scottish Catholics remained committed to being part of Scottish society. He said: “Sadly, it seems incontrovertible now that our problem is not so much sectarianism but anti-Catholicism. Popular culture is inventing all kinds of new reasons to marginalise and hate Catholics. In the face of this, the Catholic community of Scotland remains steadfast in faith.”
We often hear reports or accusations of anti-Muslim prejudice in some western countries, and while the Muslim population in Scotland would still be small, these statistics from the report itself show while the number of cases in which derogatory conduct was directed at Muslims increased, they’re still occurring at very low rates.
Charges referred to conduct which was derogatory towards Roman Catholicism in 509 charges (58% of the total) and derogatory towards Protestantism in 353 charges (40% of the total charges). Islam was the other religion which saw an increase from 15 to 19 charges. The number of charges derogatory towards Judaism reduced slightly from 16 to 14.
I think the most disturbing statistic is the overall rise in derogatory conduct against religious people, with the total number of cases increasing by about a third, with Catholics and Protestants both seeing major increases of 25 and 40 per cent respectively, with Catholics starting from a higher raw number.
Whenever statistics like this come out, it’s right to ask if there has been an actual increase in the number of cases of religious prejudice or if it’s the result of increased reporting. I’m going to guess it’s the former; changes in reporting habits don’t cause such drastic changes.
I wonder if such statistics are kept here in Australia or New Zealand. I’d be interested to see the figures.