In 2014, the Secretariat of Human Rights received 42 complaints of discrimination, ranging from discrimination to physical violence, against adherents of African-originated religions through its human rights hotline.
In July a suspicious fire destroyed the home of a Candomble practitioner in the Rio de Janeiro suburb of Duque de Caxias. The victim told authorities that her property has been targeted eight times in recent years, stating attackers have destroyed sacred images, shot at her home, and set her car ablaze. Police and the state legislature’s Commission against Racism, Homophobia, and Religious Intolerance were investigating the incident at year’s end. The president of the commission told press the crimes were likely perpetrated by drug traffickers belonging to evangelical Christian churches.
In August a municipal school in Rio de Janeiro prevented a 12-year-old student from entering the building because he was wearing white shorts and a necklace, items that identified him as a Candomble practitioner. Rio de Janeiro’s mayor apologized to the student’s family, who decided to transfer him to another school.
According to the 2014 Anti-Defamation League’s Global 100 report on anti-Semitism worldwide, 16 percent of Brazilian adults harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.
In September a teacher at a private school in Rio de Janeiro included a question comparing Israelis to Nazis in a geography exam for eighth graders. The Rio Jewish Federation demanded a public apology, and the school subsequently apologized to all parents via e‑mail. The question was removed from the exam, and the teacher was fired.
There were many efforts by civil society groups to promote interfaith dialogue. For example, the Abraham’s Path Initiative, an international NGO, sponsored an annual “friendship run” in Sao Paulo that brought Jews, Christians, and Muslims together to increase interfaith understanding; more than 5,000 persons participated.
On September 7, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders gathered at one of Sao Paulo’s largest churches to conduct a “Mass for Peace,” promoting interfaith tolerance and dialogue in response to escalating violence in the Middle East. Representatives of the three faiths signed a declaration condemning violence and calling for the strengthening of human bonds in times of conflict.
The Commission to Combat Religious Intolerance in Rio de Janeiro, in partnership with Rio de Janeiro State University, brought together diverse religious and nonreligious groups, including Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, spiritualists, and atheists. The Commission organized five forums in Rio during the year to discuss religious freedom.
The Catholic Church’s Sao Paulo House of Reconciliation hosted monthly meetings with the Jewish community as part of its work to emphasize unity and reconciliation of differences among various Christian and Jewish religious groups.