In the wake of the tragic fire that engulfed and destroyed the roof of the iconic Notre Dame cathedral, right-wing commentators have begun to speculate about who is responsible for the blaze.
Glenn Beck, the American conservative radio host and devout Trump supporter, was one of the first to point the finger at Islamists by suggesting that they started the fire as an act of terrorism, despite the origin of the fire still yet to be confirmed.
In an appearance on The News and Why It Matters,Beck claimed that the fire could have been arson and, if it was started by Islamists, then no one will find out due to the problems it could cause in France before making comparisons to 9/11.
If this was arson, this is going to be bad. If this was arson of any foreign kind of - any foreign entity, anybody with a grudge, I think if - and this is a huge if, it might have just been started by a cigarette, we don’t know - but if this was started by Islamists, I don’t think you’ll find out about it because I think it would set the entire country on fire. They’ve had killings, they’ve had mass shootings, they’ve had people running people down in the streets. The tension is very high.
This would be like us burning the White House. What is iconic like this? This is their World Trade Centre moment and if this was done by terrorists I think that they will keep it quiet because I just don't think that Macron in France wants that internal fight.
Glenn Beck speculates on the Notre Dame fire: "If this was started by Islamists, I don't think you'll find out abou… https://t.co/W63OOrHMoU
Meanwhile, Catholic League president Bill Donohue was cut off during a conversation with Neil Cavuto on Fox News for speculating on who caused the fire, referencing several other fires that had damaged religious buildings and symbols in France.
He began by saying:
Well, Neil, if it is an accident, it’s a monumental tragedy. but forgive me for being suspicious. Just last month, a 17 century church was set on fire in Paris.
We have seen Tabernacles knocked down, crosses have been torn down, statues have been smashed.
Cavuto then had to step in and ask Donohue not to spread rumours and tried to move the conversation on to fundraising for a future renovation.
Bill, we don’t know that, we don’t know. So if we can avoid what your suspicions might be, I do want to look at what happens now.
This was a very pricey rebuilding and renovation effort going on that involved a good deal of Catholic fundraising campaigns, I know in this country and abroad, this renovation was paid for upfront.
How much more the Catholic Church commits to this, or do you think now they first want to get to the bottom of it?
Donohue initially started to answer this question before reverting to the arson rhetoric.
Well, first they have to get to the bottom of it, and they will rebuild it, there’s no question about that.
I’m sorry, when I find out that the Eucharist is being destroyed and excrement is being smeared on crosses, this is what’s going on now.
At this point, Cavuto decided enough was enough and decided to end the conversation there.
Wait a minute Bill, I love you dearly, but we cannot make conjectures about this so thank you, Bill, I’m sorry, thank you very very much.
I do want to let people know, and again we’re not trying to be rude to our guests here, there is so much we do not know about what happened here.
Elsewhere, Donald Trump had also fuelled speculation by saying that he 'hoped' that the fire was caused by renovation work and not by an arsonist.
Speaking before a Nuss Truck and Equipment event, the president said:
I think I could say this, probably no cathedral in the world like it, it’s a terrible scene
They think it was caused by, at this moment, they don’t know, but they think it was caused by renovation. And I hope that’s the reason.
Paul Joseph Watson of the conspiracy theory website Info Wars, outright claimed that 'a worker' in the cathedral hold told Summit Newsthat the fire had been deliberately started.
As the Daily Dot report, this story was quickly proved to be unreliable as it comes from a far-right news site that has been accused of spreading fake news.
@gavinsblog @carolinesimons @declanganley Reports the "worker who said it was deliberate" are actually on right win… https://t.co/zv7gx4itwp
In Britain, the former EDL leader and notorious Islamophobe, Tommy Robinson suggested on his Telegram account that the fire was suspicious. The 36-year-old shared a link to the French news website FDE Souche and asked:
How does an “accidental” fire during restoration works start in two different places at once?