While poking around the Internet last week for some foul piece of reporting to fact-check, and eventually landing on Breitbart’s article about a 1,000-man mob of Muslim hooligans tormenting a sweet old German town, I first eyed a piece written for Bare Naked Islam, an openly anti-Muslim site boasting the tagline, “It isn’t Islamophobia when they really ARE trying to kill you.”
I was drawn to a post describing a flurry of New Year’s Eve car burnings “by Muslims” in France. This piece was published a day before the Breitbart story on January 2nd, but has some striking similarities to its more famous cousin. The story claims that a mass torching event, which damaged or destroyed hundreds of parked cars across France on New Year’s Eve—what has now become somewhat of a “sinister annual tradition”—was carried out by Muslims and went unreported by French officials in an effort to “minimize the anti-Muslim backlash”.
I ultimately contacted someone from the site for some clarification via email. Briefly, here’s what I found out.
- Somewhere between 600 and 1,000 cars were torched throughout France on New Years Eve.
- This “tradition” has been going on for years. It’s unclear when it first started to take hold—perhaps in the 1990s, or earlier—but the government has been officially keeping track of the number of cars burned each year since 2009, when the total reached 1,147.
- News outlets are referring to the individuals perpetrating the attacks as either “youths,” “vandals,” or “arsonists,”  or often tracing back the angry “suburban youth” to particular neighborhoods.
- Many sites are criticizing French authorities for downplaying this year’s rampages, or even accusing them of falsifying the numbers in order to report a decline in crime rates.
However, through all of this, I was not able to find anything resembling a credible source mentioning Muslims. Given the scale of these events, I am not surprised. Thus, I decided to go right to the source. I emailed Bare Naked Islam with a request for more information on the Muslim connection, and received the following response:
“They never identify them as muslims, but they always are.”
…which was a bit underwhelming, so I pressed for more. I asked, “How are you sure though?” To which they replied,
“They used to, but not anymore since Muslims have become a big problem They don’t want the natives to get upset so they lie, unless they absolutely have to.”
 http://www.barenakedislam.com/  http://www.barenakedislam.com/2017/01/02/updated-numbers-are-in-new-years-eve-car-torchings-by-muslims-in-france/  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/02/almost-1000-cars-torched-around-france-new-years-eve-government/  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/03/world/europe/frances-less-joyous-new-years-tradition.html  http://www.france24.com/en/20130102-hundreds-cars-torched-french-new-year-tradition/  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/02/almost-1000-cars-torched-around-france-new-years-eve-government/; http://www.france24.com/en/20130102-hundreds-cars-torched-french-new-year-tradition/; http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1869392,00.html  http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1869392,00.html