Friday, 07 December 2018 14:18

GREECE – Centre-Right politician scare-mongers with nonexistent ban on Christmas

Greek MP Voridis has spread exaggerated rumours of an impending inexistent danger with the aim of inciting public fear. The former minister has stated that, if the government proposal on State-Church relations is implemented, religious icons such as Jesus’ in schools and courts would not be allowed; that the cross must be removed from the Greek flag; and that Christmas would not be publicly celebrated. This is Greece's media monitoring highlight for November.

This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of November, 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.

SKAI VORIDISDate of broadcast: 4 November 2018

Media Outlet:  SKAI TV, one of the main broadcasters in Greece

Author: Michael Voridis, former minister and former speaker of the conservative New Democracy party

Link: https://goo.gl/Tf9W8k

Description of the anti-Muslim content: On a morning show on SKAI TV, Greek MP Michael Voridis stated that, if the government proposal on State-Church relations is implemented, religious icons such as Jesus’ in schools and courts would not be allowed; that the cross must be removed from the Greek flag; and that Christmas would not be publicly celebrated.

Myth debunked: Religious equality, though it can be implemented through different policies and can be problematic, states that people must not be discriminated against on account of their religion or belief. Voridis’s claims are his fabricated and unrealistic interpretation of the government constitutional reform. SYRIZA is not proposing the dramatic change mentioned by the former minister. On the contrary, Voridis is using this opportunity to oppose the government proposal, and in doing so, he is spreading exaggerated rumours of an impending nonexistent danger to incite public fear. The public is implicitly encouraged to see this as a consequence of living with people of other religions, among which refugees and asylum seekers, living in Greece. Such statements are divisive and incite violence, they poison the public debate by creating misunderstanding based on lies which actually could have consequences for the safety of migrants.

More to read:

Religious freedom, religious equality and religious establishment: a toxic brew

Muslims can and do celebrate a traditional Christmas

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