The worldwide resolve to restore France's fire-devastated Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral provided an unexpected boost on Tuesday to a more modest campaign to rebuild three predominantly black churches in Louisiana that were torched in recent weeks.
A GoFundMe page called "Seventh District Baptist Church Fires St Landry" has received just under $480,000 for the three black churches in Louisiana that were burned down by 21-year-old Holden Matthews.
A judge in the USA state added three federal hate crime charges against Holden Matthews, 21, and denied him bond, multiple media accounts reported.
She was referring were three historically black churches in Louisiana that were subject to arson attacks in late March and earlier this month.
According to The Daily Beast, Matthews" Facebook page is alleged to have shown he was "active in pagan and black metal pages" and had commented on posts about Varg Vikernes, who spent 16 years in prison for the murder of his Mayhem bandmate Øystein "Euronymous' Aarseth and who was also accused of church burnings in Norway. The three additional hate crimes charges - one for each blaze - were added Monday.
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"It's a blessing", the Rev. Gerald Toussaint, pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, said of the money raised.
All of the churches are more than 100 years old and have mostly black congregants.
On Wednesday, total donations for the three churches passed $1m with more than 18,000 people donating.
Holden Matthews, the man suspected of starting the fires, faces multiple charges in the case - including three hate crime counts. He also objected to suggestions that the house near one of the churches was intentionally set on fire, putting the residents' lives in danger. But that and the fire were apparently where the similarities between the two situations ended.
Notre Dame was partially destroyed in the fire [Photo: AP] Holden Matthews, the 21-year-old son of a Louisiana sheriff's deputy, was arrested in connection with the USA church fires and faces hate crime charges.
Matthews' attorney Quincy Cawthorne questioned some of the evidence cited by Browning and said Matthews didn't have the financial means to be a flight risk.