. . . some worthwhile observations
French Catholic churches have suffered a great deal of vandalism and arson over the last couple of years. There's a great deal of talk about "Islamophobia" these days but anti-Christian acts in France outnumbered anti-Muslim acts ten to one in 2018 during which there was an average of 2 churches being profaned per day. Yet we haven't heard a lot about this have we?
I recommend this extremely useful article If churches keep getting vandalized in France, should American news outlets cover the story? by a seasoned journalist that is well worth a read. Interestingly the author notes that those responsible for many of these attacks seem to be anarchists and feminists.
Of course it should also be noted that the increase in the Islamic population is making its contribution. I've noted before that up until a couple of years ago Assyrian churches in Paris did not need armed guards outside their services (as Synagogues in Paris - and many throughout Europe - also require) but due to the influx of Muslim migrants after the Syrian crisis these are now permanent additions to any services.
A spokesman for the Parisian Assyrian Christian community noted in 2015
Assyrians are reminded on a daily basis of such feelings of insecurity by the increasingly visible presence of the military in the streets. “We have a very large Assyrian church here that meets for worship three times per day,” explained Mr Yabas. “There are soldiers placed in front of it for protection, as also occurs with the synagogues. For several years now we have not felt secure, because of the rising power of extremists here in France. ... The entire Assyrian community is hugely disappointed and angry with the French Government ... Government inaction has resulted in the problems in Syria and Iraq coming to France. The French authorities have been entirely reactive, not proactive. They have not anticipated, but waited until the problems were on their doorstep.
We haven't heard a terrific amount about that in our media either.
There's also this from the British Express which notes that there have been at least 10 attacks on French churches just in the month of February. A month ago there was an arson attack on St. Sulpice, the second-largest church in Paris. And few of us heard about that.
The ever reliable (cough) Stuff reports that the head of the firm responsible for the renovations, Julien Le Bras, said, "All I can tell you is that at the moment the fire began none of my employees were on the site. We respected all procedures." And Bernard Fonquernie, an architect who has worked on the building in the past stated, "In the years I worked here, we never had an accident because we followed the rules so tightly. There are extinguishers everywhere, you may not use flammable liquids."
I have read that the fire started after all staff had left for the evening. I've also read that 50% of the staff used in the renovation work were of migrant background, but I've not been able to corroborate this. If true it may not be irrelevant.
To top it all off Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch notes the following three bits of interesting information:~
Notre Dame fire: No workers were in the cathedral, no heat sources were near the timber frame Was it arson?
Maybe. Would French authorities admit the fact if it were? Possibly not. Is there any group in France responsible for the spate of fires and vandalism at churches? At least one has been the work of a Muslim migrant, and Islam does have a 1,400-year history of destroying churches in Europe and elsewhere.
Does that mean that it is Muslims who are attacking churches in France, and who destroyed Notre Dame? Of course not. It’s a possibility that should be investigated, as should other possibilities. To dismiss this possibility out of hand as “Islamophobic” is to be terminally naive and/or ideologically blinkered.
Notre-Dame: ‘The work had not started yet, only the scaffolding was being assembled,'” translated from “Notre-Dame: ‘Les travaux n’avaient pas encore débuté, seuls les échafaudages étaient en cours de montage,'” Fdesouche.com, April 16, 2019 (thanks to Maxime Lépante):
The frame, the roof and the spire of the cathedral are destroyed. It will now be necessary to evaluate the state of the structure. The fire came on Monday as major renovations were underway.
(…) “The hotspots are the main obsession in a restoration work of this magnitude,” says the chief architect of historical monuments, François Chatillon, about Notre Dame. A simple weld on lead can heat the wood below. The chief architect of historical monuments responsible for the restoration of the spire of Notre Dame, Philippe Villeneuve, states: “the work had not started yet, only the scaffolding was being assembled.” From his point of view, “the hot spot hypothesis is therefore not the right one”.
Notre-Dame de Paris: ‘Nothing points in the direction of an intentional act’ at the beginning of the investigation, translated from “Notre-Dame de Paris: ‘Rien ne va dans le sens d’un acte volontaire’, selon les débuts de l’enquête,” Le Journal du Dimanche, April 16, 2019 (thanks to Maxime Lépante):
The safety procedures on the Notre-Dame de Paris construction site “have been respected,” said one of the leaders of the scaffolding of the cathedral on BFMTV Tuesday, the day after the fire that ravaged the building. “All I can tell you right now is that at the start of the fire, absolutely none of the employees of my company was present on site,” said Julien Le Bras, adding that all employees of his company, Europe Echafaudage, participated in the inquiry “without any reservation”.
An observer on the scene in France, Maxime Lépante, who sent these two links, also writes:
One of my friends sent me an email concerning the security on the roof of Notre-Dame. She has a diploma in Art History and studied in the “Ecole du Louvre” (“Louvre School”, where students learn art history and restoration processes): “I visited the framing of Notre Dame with architects of the “Bâtiments de France” (“Buildings of France”, the highest rank for an architect in France), some years ago. This 13th century timber frame was extremely protected. Each intervention is always accompanied by historians, architects, experts; no work is envisaged without extreme caution; no source of heat, no torch, no electrical apparatus is allowed; a high-performance alarm system is in place; and very strict supervision of all people allowed there.
I think we will eventually learn that this was arson.
As much as there are many who seem determined not to entertain the notion, it seems at least prudent not to immediately consign to the "conspiracy theory" bin the idea that this was not an accident but a religiously motivated act by a member of what seems to be a protected group (protected in the sense of being largely invisible to media and authorities): either Anarchist, Feminist or Muslim.
I'm happy to nail my colours to the mast and say that I find the immediate & indeed precipitous dismissal of arson to be all too familiar an occurrence. In my line over the last few years I have observed that there have been many attacks of various sorts perpetrated by Muslims that media and authorities throughout the West have been all too eager to bury for the sake of some sort of weird and transient "community cohesion".
But if this is what community cohesion looks like then I think we need to move to another option please. Option B would involve somebody having the courage to nip all this in the bud by dealing squarely and openly with the real problems, no matter who comes out looking good or bad At the moment those who are responsible seem terrified of looking into matters lest things are shown to be unraveling.
And this is what bothers me most: my underlying belief that there is good reason to expect the French government not to be candid with its populace if the facts should show up a protected group in a poor light. That is really the most tragic thing about all this. We are already finding this out in many Western nations and we are definitely seeing the same thing in our own country. An increasingly tight straight-jacket of right-think that constrains enquiry and discussion for the sake of an ephemeral "community cohesion" that is never going to stand the inevitable strain.
But who will be brave enough to take Option B?