In contrast to the societal debate, the topic of religion and crime is only scarcely present in contemporary criminological research. A special issue on this theme hence seemed very relevant. Even though the editors launched an open call, the submitted proposals were almost always related to Islam. In this introduction we therefore reflect on questions and themes that, in our opinion, should be included in this special issue on religion and crime. First, we give a short overview of Belgian, Dutch and American research on the missing theme of sexual abuse in the church. Second, we discuss the complex concept of ‘religion’. Third, we assess the complex relationship between religion and crime and reflect on the question of whether and when religion leads to more or, on the contrary, less crime. We end this introduction with a brief overview of the selected contributions for this special issue.