The video does not show a refugee or migrant attacking a Catholic priest, nor was it filmed in France
Video taken in France shows a refugee or migrant beating a Catholic priest and stealing a Bible during mass.
The video was shot in Georgetown, Guyana, not France. In addition, the attacker was not identified in any reporting as a refugee or migrant. Rather, local news said the man was “penniless” and “under the influence.”
On February 19, 2023, a video was shared by user @Izuna99 on Twitter with the misleading caption “France: black ‘refugee’ interrupts mass, attacks priests and steals Bible.”
By February 20, other Twitter accounts reposted the same video.
For example, a user named Stew Peters (@realstewpeters) mistakenly captioned the video, “African migrant interrupts mass, attacks priests and steals Holy Bible in France. This is the destruction of western civilization.”
A user named David Vance (@DVATW), whom we’ve mentioned in other reports, also reposted the video with a misleading word: “France.”
BBC disinformation journalist Shayan Sardarizadeh appeared to be the first person to investigate the matter and tweeted the truth.
Sardarizadeh tweeted: “A viral video has garnered millions of views on Twitter claiming to show a black migrant attacking and robbing a priest during a mass in France. The incident took place in Georgetown, Guyana in November 2020 involving a man who is ‘not of sound mind’ and possibly ‘under the influence’.”
On November 7, 2020, Demerara Waves, described as “Guyana’s premier and still leading source for breaking breaking news and news updates,” did not report the man as a “refugee” or a “migrant.” This part of the claim appeared to have been made out of one piece of cloth:
A man believed to be insane approached and attacked and robbed Roman Catholic Bishop Francis Alleyne while he was presiding over mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Brickdam, Georgetown.
Armed with what appeared to be a sharp pointed object, the man advanced toward Bishop Alleyne and Deacon Francis. He then grasped the bishop’s right hand and pulled down the ring before grabbing two other items, including the missal.
The incident happened on Facebook while Bishop and Deacon Francis were celebrating Mass.
Stabroek News later reported that the attacker was believed to be “penniless” and “under the influence”.
The Catholic Arena Twitter account correctly captioned a longer version of the video back on November 10, 2020.
We have previously published stories of other rumors falsely claiming to have involved France in one way or another.
For example, in 2022, social media users shared a photo claiming it showed hundreds of white electric cars abandoned in France because the cost of replacing the batteries was too high. However, the picture was taken in China and the reason the cars were abandoned was that the electric carsharing company went bankrupt due to a lack of consumer demand.
“Catholic bishop believes attacker of church ministry was under the influence.” Stabroek News11/15/2020,
Chabrol, Denis. “Roman Catholic bishop attacked, robbed by mentally ill man during mass.” Demerara Waves Online News – GuyanaNov 7, 2020,
Sardarizadeh, Shayan. “A viral video has garnered millions of views on Twitter claiming to show a black migrant attacking and robbing a priest during mass in France, potentially ‘under the influence’.” TwitterFebruary 21, 2023
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/refugee-migrant-france-mass-priest-bible-video/ The video does not show a refugee or migrant attacking a Catholic priest, nor was it filmed in France