PARIS: Satanism is gaining ground in France, leading to an increase in cemetery desecrations and anti-Christian rituals and developing links between disaffected youths and neo-Nazi groups, an official report said yesterday.
They often left satanic symbols such as inverse crosses, pentagrams and demonic numbers at scenes of their crimes.
“One can reasonably speak of a marked progression of this phenomenon,” said the report by the Interministerial Mission To Observe and Fight Sectarian Excesses which was handed over to Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.
“The police have noted a significant rise in profanations of cemeteries that are clearly marked as satanic – 23 cases from January to August 2004 compared to 18 for the whole year of 2003,” it wrote.
Cemetery profanations have been especially frequent in eastern French regions such as Alsace, where the report said satanist groups had linked up with neo-Nazis.
Swastikas and satanic symbols have been found spray-painted on tombstones in Christian, Jewish and Muslim cemeteries in eastern France over the past year.
The report gave no overall figures for satanists in France but said that Satanism was also on the rise in Scandinavia, Italy, Germany, Spain, Russia, Greece and Poland.
There were no structured satanist networks in France but youths had access to a wide array of information on the Internet, it said.
Satanists in southern France frequently crossed the border into Spain to hold rave parties in Catalonia, “where they can indulge more freely in their rituals,” the report added.
It said the number of deaths linked to satanic practices was limited, with two suicides and two murders linked to them in the past two years.
We appreciate your support
One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at Amazon.com.
Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission — at no additional cost to you — for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this service free of charge.