Hate crime figures leaked by police in Germany have caused alarm, as they revealed murder, assault, and arson numbering among almost 100 attacks which targeted Christians in 2017.

Published by the Funke media group several months before annual crime statistics are due to be officially released, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) data showed attacks on churches and Christian symbols accounted for a quarter of the 97 cases.

At least 14 of the cases in the report involved asylum seekers and refugees, including the murder of an Afghan Christian convert by a fellow Afghan in May last year which prompted politicians to urge the BKA to record “anti-Christian crimes” separately for the first time.

Ansgar Heveling, interior policy spokesman for Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, called the figures “alarming” and argued that the state “has a responsibility to punish these attacks severely and consistently… [as] anti-Semitic attacks are rightly being tackled”.

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