FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show A Black Refugee Attacking A Priest In France?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A video shared on Facebook allegedly shows a black refugee attacking a priest in France during a church service.

Verdict: False

The video shows a mentally ill man in Guyana, not France. There is no evidence he is a refugee.

Fact Check:

A teacher in southwestern France was stabbed to death by a high school student Feb. 22, according to The Associated Press. An official stated that the attacker had “severe” mental health issues and that he was motivated to do so by “voices” he heard, the outlet reported.

The Facebook video shows a black man hitting and taking items away from a Catholic priest. The video’s caption reads, “France black ‘refugee’ interrupts Mass, assaults priest and steals the Holy Bible.” The video was also shared widely on Twitter, with one iteration being viewed over 1 million times.

The video’s caption, however, does not accurately describe what happens. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found that the video was taken in Guyana in 2020. The video was streamed live on Catholic Guyana Media’s Facebook page, with the attack taking place around 23:30.

The video shows a potentially mentally ill man attacking Bishop Francis Allenye. The attack took place at the Brickdam Cathedral in Georgetown, Guyana, according to Demerara News. (RELATED: Does This Photo Show An Imam Thanking A Dog For Rescuing People In Turkey?)

“I didn’t judge him as a person who was aggressively attacking the church,” Bishop Alleyne told Stabroek News in 2020. Demerara News described the man as “believed to be of unsound mind” when reporting on the incident.

Bishop Alleyne told AFP that the attacker was a “citizen of Guyana” and had a mental illness. He further said that the incident “shows the unfortunate reality of the mentally ill, the disproportionate number of people who are in this situation and the limited capacity of the State and other agents to treat them properly.”

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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