Fox Business host Lou Dobbs has suggested that French officials were wrong to quickly discount arson as the cause for Monday’s devastating fire that engulfed the iconic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.
On Tuesday, Dobbs echoed conspiracy theories being pushed by several right-wing commentators who have cast doubt on the official accounts of the fire, about which much remains unknown. The Fox Business host provided no new evidence to disprove statements from French officials.
Soon after the fire broke out, officials discounted arson. French prosecutors have opened an investigation into the blaze and are considering “involuntary destruction caused by fire.” The cathedral was undergoing extensive renovation before the fire erupted, and initial reports suggested this work may have been to blame.
Dobbs suggested the fire may be linked to a reported spike in church vandalism in France. “Perhaps overlooked since yesterday is 875 Catholic churches in France were vandalized in 2018—875,” he said. “In a single week last month, 12 churches were vandalized, including a fire deliberately set at a church also located in Paris. This is context, this is not speculation, this is the situation right now in France and the recent history of what has happened to Catholic churches throughout the nation.”
He added this context has been “ignored too often by some covering the tragedy, some who have ruled out ‘speculation’ about the cause of the Notre Dame fire as they speculate—taking it as gospel that arson was not the cause.”
The Vienna-based Observatory of Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe told Newsweek last month that much of the vandalism is believed to have been the work of secularists, feminists and other anti-religion groups.