Spate of vandalism hits Christian monuments in Germany - media
“Since October 24, police have registered 48 cases in which unknown attackers destroyed sacred figures, sacred sculptures, and crosses,” Die Junge Freiheit reports, citing police officials.
The attacks occurred in the district of Coesfeld, located in the Federal State of North-Rhine Westphalia. The perpetrators are primarily targeting the noses and eyes of the sculptures, police spokesman Mirko Stein told Die Junge Freiheit.
"In particular, faces [of the figures] are made unrecognizable, noses are being cut off, eyes are scratched,” Stein said.
State security agencies are now also part of the investigation, since “a religious motive cannot be excluded.”
A series of desecrations of Christian symbols was reported earlier in the year by several other news outlets. According to Bild, one of the latest attacks happened in November, with police saying that investigations were “in full swing.”
Back then, Stein admitted that law enforcement officers did not think that the action was directed simply by a wish to vandalize Christian monuments.
“To put it straight: this is not about simple material damage, there is someone [behind the attacks], who has quite certainly something against Christianity,” Stein said, as quoted by Catholic news portal Kath.net.
Yet there was no detailed information on the potential perpetrators and whether they acted as a coordinated group or individually.
The German WDR also reported in November that two figures in the communities of Seppenrade and Kriederdenkmal in Dülmen-Weddern were left completely without their heads.
The latest reports of attacks on Christian symbols in Germany follow a similar wave of vandalism in recent years.
Some 40 cases of desecrations of Christian statues and other signs were registered in the district of Steinfurt, also located in North-Rhine Westphalia , Bild reported.
“It was striking that the heads of all of the statues were cut off,” the outlet noted. Police investigated six people over the attacks, who were apparently part of an Islamist circle.
Yet the inquiry was later dropped since three of the men went to Syria, one died and another moved to an unknown address. The fate of the sixth suspect could not be verified.