Monday, 31 December 2018 11:47

HUNGARY – Pro-government news portal spins story to fuel fears of “Islamisation” in Europe

The propaganda media Origo reports that, in Belgium, some Christian pupils have been “forced to pray in a mosque”, but provides no sources, no footage, and no context, feeding existing Islamophobic narratives on the “submission” of Europe to Islam. This is Hungary’s media monitoring highlight for December.

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

origo belgiumDate of publication: 12 December 2018

Media OutletOrigo, a pro-government news portal. It changed its editorial stance in 2015, moving from being critical of the Fidesz-led government to becoming more government-friendly in its political reporting


Headline: “Full submission: In Belgium, Christian pupils are taken to a mosque”

Description of the anti-Muslim content: The article reports that, in Belgium, some Christian pupils were taken to a mosque and “forced to pray in the way Muslims do”. This is described as an unacceptable event that, according to Origo, shows how Belgium is being submissive to Muslims: “We can therefore safely say that Belgians are already preparing for full surrender”. The news site claims that Muslim children are not taken to Christian churches, and that it would be seen as outrageous if this did happen:  “Think about how much disgust there if the situation were reversed. Where are the human rights defenders?”

Myth debunked: This article does not disclose any of the original sources for the information provided, and therefore cannot be fact-checked. The video, mentioned as a proof, is not available and the link to a tweet leads to a suspended account. No context is provided either, making it hard to establish whether the pupils were “forced to pray”, as the article says, or if they were taken to a mosque learn about Muslim religion and culture. The reverse assumption, which claims that civil rights defenders would be outraged to learn that Muslim pupils are being taken to Christian churches, is not a sound argument because the societal norms in Belgium are based on Christian traditions. The comparison does not take into account the relationship between a Christian majority and a Muslim minority, which makes it illogical to equate the two. This article is a striking example of unprofessional journalism, in line with the decline of what was once a high-quality news portal.

More to read:

Why an anti-Islam campaign has taken root in Hungary, a country with few Muslims

Street-level and government-level Islamophobia in the Visegrád Four countries

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