CHURCHES across France have been set on fire and poo smeared on walls as the country’s Christian heritage is said to be under attack from “militant secularism”.
Recent incidents have included a fire in Saint-Sulpice church in Paris, human poo daubed on a wall in Notre-Dame-des-Enfacts in Nimes, and an organ vandalised at Saint-Denis basilica outside Paris.
Cops said the fire at Saint-Sulpice had been started deliberatelyREUTERS
Cops said the fire at Saint-Sulpice had been started deliberately
Some politicians have claimed the country’s Christian heritage is under threat from petty criminals encouraged by “militant secularism”.
Figures released by French police showed that 875 of France’s 42,258 churches were vandalised last year.
A further 129 churches reported thefts from the premises.
The interior ministry said that 59 cemeteries were also vandalised.
While the figures are down on the previous year when there were 1,045 acts of vandalism and 109 thefts they are still at a “worrying level”, according to Le Figaro.
Republicans MP Valerie Boyer said: “Every day, at least two churches are profaned.”
Critics of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s government have said it is not doing enough to stop the problem.
Following the fire at Saint-Sulpice, which cops say was started deliberately, the leader of the Republicans Laurent Wauquiez said the media had failed to give the issue more prominence.
He said: “Saint-Sulpice is not only a church, it’s a part of who we are. That’s enough of this code of silence.”
Opposition MPs Annie Genevard and Philippe Gosselin have called for a parliamentary investigation into anti-Christian acts in France.
Historian Francois Huguenin, said that while only about five percent of French people were practising Catholics, the church still remained the depository of social markers. It is therefore more difficult for [Christians] to express indignation than it is for other communities”.
MOST READ IN WORLD NEWS
NOTRE DOOM Notre Dame SAVED from total destruction but blaze wrecks spear
ZIPWIRE PLUNGE Tourist, 25, plummets 330ft to death after his zipwire harness snaps
He added that the anti-Christian acts came against the spread of “fundamentalist secularism that is no different from religious fundamentalism”.
Officially France is a secular country.
It banned wearing a face-covering veil or other masks in public places in April 2011.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has come under fire for not doing more about the problemAFP OR LICENSORS
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has come under fire for not doing more about the problem
Opposition MPs in France have said the country’s Christian heritage is under threat from petty criminals encouraged by 'militant secularism'REUTERS
Opposition MPs in France have said the country’s Christian heritage is under threat from petty criminals encouraged by 'militant secularism'
The basilica of St Denis was the first gothic church to be built in FranceGETTY - CONTRIBUTOR
The basilica of St Denis was the first gothic church to be built in France
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at email@example.com or call 0207 782 4368. You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.
Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)
NOTRE DOOM Notre Dame SAVED from total destruction but blaze wrecks spire, roof & windows
DOG DEATH Owner arrested after her dog mauled boy, 9, to death is 'distraught' over tragedy
'BLOODBATH' Soldier 'slashed female squaddie pal in neck' in 'red mist' rage in Magaluf
HAIRY INTERESTING Leading hairdresser reveals how often you should be washing your hair
LEFT TO DIE I was changing a flat tyre when thugs gang-raped me as my son, 4, sat in car
'NEVER STOOD A CHANCE' 'Bulldog' that mauled boy, 9, to death 'in FOUR previous attacks'
HEY GIRL ‘Meghan & Harry’ cradle newborn daughter outside the 'Lindo Wing' in spoof images
STILL FIGHTING Dog the Bounty Hunter's wife puts on brave smile as she fights cancer
RUFF SEAS Stranded dog is rescued 130 MILES out to sea - so how did it get there?
STRONG FEELINGS? Ant McPartlin's ex Lisa Armstrong hints she wants to get back together