This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of July, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.
Date of publication: 31 July 2018
Media outlet: Le Vif is a French weekly news magazine published in Brussels
Headline: “A person blows themself up in Stembert: it is not terrorism”
Description of the anti-Muslim content: This article reports on the suicide of a person in Verviers, Belgium. As the person blew themself up, the newspaper felt the need to clarify that it was not a terrorist attack. The author makes a point of saying this in the headline, in the intro, and in the article. Despite this incident having nothing to do with terrorism, almost half of the article is devoted to recounting how in 2015, a week after the Charlie Hebdo attack, a terrorist cell was dismantled in Verviers.
Myth debunked: This article links two events that have nothing in common except geography: the suicide of a person in Verviers in 2018 and the dismantlement of a terrorist cell in Verviers in 2015. Le Vif makes this connection because the suicide was committed by explosion – generally associated, in the European public perception, with Islamic terrorism – even though the police stated that the case was not being treated as terrorism. Spending, then, almost half of the article explaining, in detail, the dismantlement of an Islamic terrorist group three years ago is simply unprofessional. It contributes to creating confusion and misinformation, for which Muslim residents eventually pay the price.
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