Thursday, 28 February 2019 14:32

GERMANY – Framing School Lessons about Islam as Missionary Work

The far-right PI-News portrays Islamic studies classes in German primary and secondary schools as a form of clandestine missionary work in the name of the so-called Islamisation of Europe. This is Germany’s media monitoring highlight for February.

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

Germany MMH FebDate of publication: 22 February 2019

Media Outlet:  PI-News (“Politically Incorrect”), a far-right news website that defines itself as “Against the Mainstream, Pro-American, Pro-Israel, Against the Islamisation of Europe, For Fundamental Laws and Human Rights”

Linkhttps://bit.ly/2TalCxk

Headline: “Students of Islamic Studies: ‘We’re being forced to do it!’”

Description of the anti-Muslim content: This article depicts Islamic studies in German primary and secondary schools as a form of indoctrination of German children and youths. Not only do the authors criticise children being taught about Islam for longer than a “half-hour lesson” which “should suffice completely” – they go so far as to insinuate that the classes stealthily convert non-Muslim German children into Muslims. After describing how children are taught and asked to write down the Shahada (the Muslim confession of faith), the authors suggestively state “one sentence suffices and one becomes a Muslim”. The authors also discuss the case of a religious studies teacher who showed her class a prayer mat and an Islamic prayer chain, telling the class that she enjoyed her occasional visits to mosques. For the authors “this is no longer a class, but missionary work”. The authors suggest that religious lessons about Islam should focus primarily on characteristics that clash with liberal values. The article holds that any other approach would convey “a rose-tinted feel-good image of Islam”. In doing so, the authors imply that Islam is an inherently dangerous ideology – this perpetuates the far-right idea of ‘the violent Muslim’. 

Myth debunked: This article combines two conspiratorial fears of the German far-right: the alleged Islamisation of Europe and the supposed re-education of German children. According to the latter conspiracy narrative, the German public and especially the German youth are being brainwashed by the so-called elites who seek to replace supposed traditional German values with ones that are framed as being depraved. In a twist on the usual Islamisation conspiracy narrative, this article frames the Islamic studies classes as the re-education of German (Christian) children into Muslims. In a pluralistic society that upholds liberal values, religious education is an important part of the school curriculum to allow children to learn about the different religions present in their home country and around the world. The authors do not seem to take issue with religious studies generally speaking. Thus, their “concern” exposes their biased view on Islam in which it poses a danger to the German population. 

More to read:

Toxic Narratives: Monitoring Alternative-Right Actors 

 

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