I have decided to write an article about the propaganda surrounding Muslims and Christian places of worship in response to the fake news circulating on social media about the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, as conspiracy theorists are using the cathedral fire to spread anti-Muslim rhetoric.
I am NOT suggesting that these incidences do not happen, it is a stern warning, that just because you read something on the internet, or from a popular media personality, it does not mean it is true, or said in its correct context.
Many false rumors about persecuted Christians are multiplying on the Internet from manipulated photos and data. This false information is aimed at raising funds (scammers) or provoking anti-Muslim reactions.
This is the goal of mostly American anti-Islam blogs, social media personalities and evangelical agencies that send ‘freelance reporters’ to Muslim countries by asking them to search for or inflate stories about Christians in trouble. It is best to assume it is false, unless it comes from a credible source.
Over the years, an incredible number of fake news and propaganda has flooded the Internet and alarmist videos were shared by the thousands, sometimes even millions of times. I will go through some of them.
A recently created fake account ‘USfoxnews’ spreads the hoax that the fire is a terrorist attack:
A video of a person shouting “allahu akbar” while the Notre Dame burns is also fake:
The video has been edited to include a man shouting “Allahu Akbar”. The original can be found on YouTube, where the calls “Allahu Akbar” in the notre dame fire video, originated from. You can find it, here.
The following video was recording a TV during the live broadcast of the fire on the news channel of the Spanish audiovisual group RTVE. The man evidently wears a long, light garment and something bright on his head. Many Facebook users agree that it has to be a Muslim with a turban. It is supposed to show someone suspicious on the scaffolding surrounding the spire:
The problem with recorded pictures from a TV is its poorer quality. The above video is a good example, as the blurry, pale shots quickly lead to (false) interpretations. The original video can be seen on Youtube.
Here is a screenshot of both videos, side-by-side, the image on the right has been brightened up for better recognition:
The same scene with the man walking on the south tower is visible, in much better quality, in the 42nd minute of this YouTube video. In the moments that follow, you see another person arrive, obviously wearing firefighter equipment, with helmet and oxygen bottles on their back (from 42’50). It also seems to unroll a pipe just before another man arrives.
The poor quality video that is circulating, was recording a TV during the live broadcast of the fire on the news channel of the Spanish audiovisual group RTVE. So this ‘suspicious’ man is a French firefighter, the commander of the relief operations (Commandant opérations secours), wearing a yellow safety vest and helmet, not a turban. In the photo on the left (March 2018), the yellow vest is identical (to the video) in this picture (on the right), taken yesterday morning in front of Notre-Dame.
This is the Parisian firefighter uniform:
It was also confirmed by the Paris fire brigade that it was a firefighter: “He wears a yellow vest as the chief of rescue operations that distinguishes him from other firefighters”, BSPP said.
Anything said by far-right conspiracy theorists should also be taken with a grain of salt.
As Buzzfeed stated: “During the Notre Dame fire, the laughing face emojis were clearly in the minority and it is impossible to know why people chose a specific emoji, or for that matter the religion of people reacting to a Facebook video. It’s also difficult to verify the authenticity of the accounts. Bottom line: Facebook emojis on a video do not tell us anything about a group of people.”
People can also accidentally react with the wrong emoji and not notice, as I have done, so many times myself, or laughing about something else said, or done, in the video, not the actual cathedral being on fire, as well as fake accounts being created to create all this “buzz” in the media as well, to push more conspiracy theories and anti-Muslim sentiment. There is no way to know, and we will never know.
While on the same subject. This post is to subtly imply 875 attacks on churches were committed by Muslims in France, even if the word ‘Muslim’, is not mentioned, it was his intention.
In an article by Liberation“: “Contrary to the suggestion of Paul Joseph Watson, who denounces the silence of the media on these figures, the Figaro has revealed them. Refer to my updated article that debunks Watson’s claim. You can also find my other rebuttals to his fake news stories about Muslims and France, as well as the Yellow Vests, in my articles, here, and here, and here. Watson is notorious for taking small grains of truth and twisting the facts for his own globalist divide and conquer’ agenda.
Moving along …
Muslims did not burn a church in Pakistan in retaliation for the Christchurch attack.
A video has been circulating online since 16 March, accompanied by a commentary in several languages suggesting that Pakistani Muslims burned down a Christian place of worship in response to the attack in New Zealand.
This is St. George’s Church, Sohag, in the Nile Valley. This video is from August 2013, and can be found on the YouTube Mideast Christian Church channel. They actually show the attack of a Coptic church in Egypt.
Further proof that its degradation was not made in retaliation for the recent attack in New Zealand: a report from the NGO Human Rights Watch published an August 2013 report on this attack.
No, it’s not the massacre of Christians by Muslims in Nigeria.
“On Friday, July 3, 2010 at 21:00, a truck towing a gas tank spilled on the road that connects UVIRA to Bukavu in the center of the city of SANGE 45Km from the city of UVIRA. The fuel blew off the ground from the tank, a crowd of peasants came each with its tank to collect the precious loot; while the rescue team was getting ready to lift the vehicle. The scene of the tragedy caught fire and a general fire consumed all that was nearby, for over an hour of time.
The balance sheet updates this Saturday at 10 am, is 212 deaths and 102 seriously injured.”
Anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller recovered the photos to pass them off as the result of the clashes in Nigeria which was supposed to denounce the post-election violence in April 2011, between Christians and Muslims. You can read my other articles debunking her anti-Muslim propaganda, especially about France, here, and here, and here, as well as here.
In 2015, debunkersdehoax wrote an article to denounce (and disassemble) propaganda around degrading acts of places of worships and cemeteries. They were able to demonstrate that these acts were not “anti-Christian” acts, contrary to what was propagated by the far-right.
“The 2012 assessment of attacks on Christian sites (religious buildings and burials) marks a slight increase in the number of acts committed compared to the previous year: 543 in 2012 instead of 527 in 2011, or + 3%. Most of them are degradations, theft of objects or acts of mere vandalism, the motives of which rarely appear to be based on a specific ideology.”
According to Odon Vallet, religious specialist :
“In the case of anti-Christian acts, again, little information exists on the profiles of the authors. “Police authorities communicate very little about this”
Identically, the motivations seem far from a systematic campaign of “anti-Christian” acts.
And who, better than the Catholic authorities themselves , can put this phenomenon into perspective?
In early February, several churches were targeted by malicious acts in France. Crosses were overthrown, hosts crumbled and altars set on fire. But not all of them fall under profanation, a distinction that must be emphasised, even for the Conference of Bishops of France.
The churches of Houilles and Maisons-Laffitte, in the Yvelines, had never suffered such acts. In one, the cross of the altar was broken, and a statue. In the other, the furniture that bears the tabernacle has been thrown to the ground. The diocese of Versailles does not wish to expand on the subject and does not consider these acts as anti-Christian. In one of the two parishes, it is a homeless person with psychiatric disorders who seems to be at the origin of the facts.
In the Tarn, it is the cathedral of Lavaur, recently renovated, which suffered significant damage. The altar of one of the small chapels of the place was burned. “Two people set fire to paintings that were on an altar table, knocked down a Christ on the cross and generated considerable black smoke in a cathedral whose paintings had been restored,” regrets the mayor of Bernard Carayon commune. For the past five years, the 700-year-old building has undergone major restoration works, and a budget of two million euros has been committed for the occasion. Two high school students admitted to being the perpetrators of these degradations, which for the parishioners are more a matter of youthful stupidity than a real anti-religion spirit, one of them has come to lend a hand to repair the damage caused.”
There are burglaries, who steal works of art, it is an attack on a place of worship but it is not the same thing as a profanation. There are also many people who do not know what a church is, who goes in to steal, to degrade, so we have to differentiate attacks against places of worship. – Father Olivier Ribadeau-Dumas
For the Bishops’ Conference of France, developing religious education would undoubtedly make it possible to restrict such acts, thanks to a better knowledge of religions and also to establish more respect and dialogue between them – Rita Hermon-Belot.
“As previous studies have noted, acting out often occurs in groups, after excessive alcohol consumption, idleness, or the work of people with psychiatric disorders. But if the cemeteries of Christian denominations alone represent 85 to 90% of the theaters of profanation, we also speak of acts with satanic connotations. These acts often occur on April 30 (which is both the birthday of Adolf Hitler) and the founding of the Church of Satan in the United States.
Example: in the night of Monday, April 30 to Tuesday, May 1, 2007, 114 Christian graves are vandalized in Mesnil-sur-Oger, a small village in the Marne: crosses are unsealed to be placed according to satanic rites, and a Christ is reversed and covered with paint. Other peaks are observed on October 31 of each year and the following days, at the time of the Halloween and Satanist year, but also during the dates of the solstices and equinoxes.
For Jewish and Muslim places, desecration takes on a racist and anti-Semitic character. Example: about 500 of the 576 graves of the Muslim square of the Notre-Dame-de-Lorette military cemetery, located near Arras (Pas-de-Calais), are desecrated on the night of Sunday 7 to Monday 8 December 2008: large letters written in black paint form inscriptions insulting the Moslem religion and also mentioning by name the minister of justice of the time, Rachida Dati.
Another example: the synagogue of Melun is totally desecrated on the night of July 22, 2010 along its length, about 70 meters long, each antisemitic inscription is about 70 centimeters long or high, about. In January 2010, some 30 graves at the Jewish cemetery in Cronenbourg near Strasbourg were desecrated, some with anti-Semitic and Nazi inscriptions.”
If the attacks against mosques and synagogues have indeniably a marked ideological origin, it is almost not the case for Christian buildings. How is it possible?
Of 100,000 religious buildings in France (excluding burial sites), more than half are Christian buildings, for about 2500 mosques and 500 synagogues. So we have about 10 times more abuses committed in Christian buildings that are 30 to 40 times more numerous.
What are the reasons for these acts, where do they take place?
Most of the acts concerning cemeteries take place in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Picardy, Lorraine and Ile-de-France regions, which are home to several cemeteries and military necropolises of the 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 wars. It is mostly the cemeteries in rural areas that are affected.” 20 minutes
Here you have read, two main reasons for attacks on Christian places of worship in France: Theft of precious religious objects (sometimes even for bronze / brass) and trafficking in military objects or relics related to the first and second world war. It was not 875 attacks by Muslims, as Watson subtly suggested.