French Rioters Burn Down 16th Century Church

As violent riots continue to plague France, one of the country’s historic churches was burned to the ground in Drosnay, France.

Around 3,500 people have been arrested across France throughout the fiery and violent riots that came in response to an Algerian teenager being shot by police. The teen, identified as Nahel M., was fatally shot after he refused to pull over for a traffic stop. Nahel ignored police attempting to pull him over, and instead drove through a red light. Police eventually caught up with him, but the teen again tried to drive off when officers demanded he exit his vehicle. He was then shot to death by an officer.

Since the shooting, Paris and other French cities have faced race riots — where thousands of violent individuals have set buildings on fire and clashed with French police.

According to an estimate from French business association Medef, the riots have cost businesses over $1 billion. The cost of the damage is likely to grow in the near future, as Medef did not take into account other buildings, such as churches or homes, that were also damaged in the riots.

One such church was the Eglise Notre Dame in Drosnay, which was built in the 16th century and survived the bombings in World War II — only to be burned down in riots that France is having a lot of difficulty quelling.

“A 16th century Catholic Church has been burnt to the ground The steeple of Eglise Notre Dame Drosnay can be seen collapsing on video. French churches are being destroyed every week,” Catholic Arena wrote in a tweet, sharing footage of the historic church being burned to the ground.

In a follow-up tweet, the outlet shared a photo of the remains of the burned church.

“All that remains of the 16th century Catholic Church Notre Dame Drosnay after it was burnt to the ground yesterday. French churches are being destroyed every week despite a promise by Macron at Mont St Michel last month to protect them,” the tweet read.

Several historic churches have been destroyed in the riots. Catholic Arena also shared a video of the damage to the L’église Saint-Georges in Descartes.

France has been losing churches to arson for years now, with critics pointing to the country’s embrace of illegal immigrants from Muslim countries as the likely culprit.

Catholic News Agency interviewed Edouard de Lamaze, president of the Observatoire du patrimoine religieux (Observatory of Religious Heritage) in Paris, about the phenomenon back in 2021.

“Lamaze told CNA in an interview that in addition to one religious building disappearing every two weeks — by demolition, transformation, destruction by fire, or collapse — two-thirds of fires in religious buildings are due to arson,” the outlet wrote.

“Although Catholic monuments are still ahead, one mosque is erected every 15 days in France, while one Christian building is destroyed at the same pace,” Lamaze told the outlet. “It creates a tipping point on the territory that should be taken into account.”