Fake News: Muslim Immigrants Did NOT Attack a Catholic church During Mass In Saint-Denis, France

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Muslim Immigrants Did NOT Attack a Catholic church During Mass In Saint-Denis, France

Did muslim immigrants attack a Catholic church during mass in Seine-Saint-Denis in France? No, they didn't, despite what is claimed in the caption below a controversial Facebook video posted by a page with the name "News World". We've embedded the post below:

It was published on March 20, 2018 and had following caption: "Saint-Denis (France) Muslim immigrants attack a Catholic church during the mass. The police try to stop them". We archived the post here and the video here in case it gets taken down.

According to a local media report from Le Parisien (translated through Google Translate), what actually happened on March 18, 2018 was:

About 80 people have invested the Basilica of Saint-Denis this Sunday around 15 hours in support of migrants and undocumented. The Coordination des sans-papiers group has deployed a banner denouncing the "Asylum - Immigration" bill put forward by the government. "They were very respectful. They made noise, that's all. There was no aggressiveness, "says an employee of the Basilica.

Original text:

Environ 80 personnes ont investi la Basilique de Saint-Denis ce dimanche vers 15 heures en soutien aux migrants et sans-papiers. Le collectif Coordination des sans-papiers a déployé une banderole pour dénoncer le projet de loi « Asile - Immigration » porté par le gouvernement. « Ils ont été très respectueux. Ils ont fait du bruit, c'est tout. Il n'y avait aucune agressivité », confie un salarié de la Basilique.

What can be seen in the video is probably the part where they are ejected by the police:

After more than an hour, protesters were evacuated by the police. A man, who objected to the entry of the officials, was arrested. The procession then went to the police station, in the presence of MP (FI) Eric Coquerel. Following the incident, the Basilica was closed around 17:30, under the vigilance of a police van to ensure that the protesters do not return. Sunday evening Mass was canceled.

Original text:

Après plus d'une heure, les manifestants ont été évacués par la police. Un homme, qui s'opposait à l'entrée des fonctionnaires, a été arrêté. Le cortège s'est alors rendu devant le commissariat, en présence du député (FI) Eric Coquerel. Suite à l'incident, la Basilique a été fermée vers 17h30, sous la vigilance d'un fourgon de police pour s'assurer que les manifestants ne reviennent pas. La messe du dimanche soir a été annulée.

Our emphasis. So not only did the video not show an attack, there was also no mass going on at the time and no evidence was given the immigrants were even muslim.

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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