Calls for Calm after Young Men Draped North African Flags from Church Roof

Country: France

Date of incident: February 9, 2020

Category: Social Hostility / Intolerance

Attack against: Faith

Area of case: Islamist / Private

A priest filed a complaint against a group of individuals who hung the flags of Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco from the roof of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste church in Albi during the afternoon of February 9th. The perpetrators had already removed the flags and fled the scene when the police arrived. While there was minimal damage, the priest said, "I consider this to be a serious fact, an act of distrust. It is an act of disrespect for the place of worship and for Christians. Some people were shocked."

The priest also called the incident "provocation coupled with stupidity and malice" against a symbolic building. "Obviously, the young people went up just long enough to be photographed." Although he filed a police complaint the following day, the priest has called for calm responses to the incident.

Henri de Beauregard, the lawyer for a family of Catholics who were on a bus attacked by leftist extremists on January 19 in Caen said the incident evokes “a very strong symbolism, carrying great violence, in this quasi-military manner of putting a flag on a monument." 

"The climate in France is becoming worrying. This is why, gradually, the Church is beginning to turn to the courts. The investigation will make it possible to find out what these young people had in mind and to distinguish between foolish provocation and deliberate political action."

Sources: Actu17 and La Croix