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Did a Muslim Screaming “Allahu Akbar” Disrupt the Pentecost Mass in a French Cathedral?

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According to a French-language report in Riposte catholique, it happened on May 20, Pentecost Sunday for Roman Catholics, in Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Nantes, France: a Muslim grabbed the microphone during the sermon by Bishop Jean-Paul James and screamed “Allahu akbar.”

However, in yet another example of dhimmitude and willful ignorance from a Catholic bishop, Catholic officials deny that the intruder said “Allahu akbar” at all. Presse Océan reported:

It took only one publication that was wrong, so that the rumor remains on the web: a man tore the microphone out of the hands of the bishop of Nantes on Sunday, in the middle of the solemn Mass of Pentecost, to shout “Allahu akbar” in the cathedral “packed to the rafters.” Relayed several hundred times over the Internet, what is then presented as an “info” from a “very reliable source” has begun to fuel fantasies. However, it cannot stand up to the “objectivity of the facts.” Father Benoît Bertrand, Vicar General of the Diocese of Nantes, was “on the right” of Bishop Jean-Paul James when a man was “on the podium.” It was “about 10:30 am,” and the bishop began his homily in front of “1,500 to 2,000 people […] The man grabbed the microphone and made remarks in a foreign language. He did not shout ‘Allahu akbar’ at all, says the vicar. Clinging to the microphone, he was determined to speak and seemed especially extremely fragile psychologically […] There are always malicious people who seek to fuel this kind of rumor and excite people’s minds when they should rather seek to calm them. It is not a matter of being naive, we remain vigilant in the national context, but everyone must stick to the reality and the objectivity of the facts.”

So it didn’t happen, right? Not so fast. Journalist Daniel Hamiche spoke to people who were in the cathedral for Pentecost Mass, and reported:

All that Presse Océan has written, on the strength of the declarations of the vicar general, is contradicted. Yes, as stated and confirmed by the faithful present at this Mass of Pentecost in the cathedral of Nantes, the disrupter of the worship service said “Allahu akbar” into the microphone…Father Benoît Bertrand, vicar general, who argues the contrary, is either deaf or is not telling the truth. The troublemaker, a 25-year-old black man, climbed to the pulpit about five minutes after the beginning of the bishop’s homily….The agitated young man spoke into the microphone in Arabic without pronouncing a single word of French. A deacon, the rector, the vicar general and two young people from the parish finally overpowered the disrupter and kicked him out, where he was undoubtedly detained by the police stationed in front of the cathedral. The bishop resumed his homily by saying, “Well, I’m resuming.” On the recording of his homily that was put online the next day, Monday, May 21, nothing is apparent: the recording has been edited, which is quite outrageous if this incident happened as reported. But is it surprising?

No, it isn’t surprising at all. In denying that the intruder screamed “Allahu akbar,” Father Benoît Bertrand is following the line set by Pope Francis, who has risibly claimed that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” It has become a superdogma in the Catholic Church: if you don’t believe that Islam is a Religion of Peace, you will be ruthlessly harassed and silenced by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the hierarchy elsewhere as well. The bishops of the Catholic Church are much more concerned that you believe that Islam is a religion of peace than that you believe in, say, the Nicene Creed.

And so Father Benoît Bertrand has every reason to cover up what happened in the Nantes cathedral on Pentecost Sunday. To tell the truth would make his boss, and the entire Catholic Church’s position on Islam and mass Muslim migration into Europe, look bad.

“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His new book is The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.

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