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.
Date of publication: 13 February 2019
Media Outlet: Market News, finance-focused news platform
Author: Thanos Tzimeros, political figure and president of the centre-Rrght Dimiourgia Ksana (Creation Now) party
Headline: “A full pavement – Α legal gap”
Description of the anti-Muslim content: In this article, politician Thanos Tzimeros discusses the Islamic prayer, which he claims large groups of people are performing on the streets of Greece and around Europe. He states that whilst the photo used is from an unspecified European city, such activity also happens in Kotzia Square in Athens which, he claims ‘’ is constantly becoming more like Islamabad”. Tzimeros feels Muslims praying in public is unacceptable in Europe, and those obstructing pavements for prayer should be fined 500 Euros. He goes on to claim that a type of “religious police” are evermore present in “Islamic-occupied areas of Europe” and that they police what people eat, drink and wear, enforcing an “Islamic code.” He also claims that in ‘’their countries of origin’’ this type of religious police even kill in public those who disobey. On the topic of public religious rituals, mr. Tzimeros makes a clear distinction between what is acceptable for Islam and for Christians. He sees no problem with the Epitafios Easter ritual, when roads are closed off for this Christian Tradition, because as he put it: “it is different when the 80% of population participates in comparison to the 100 or 1000 believers.”
Thanos Tzimeros has expressed racist and hateful views on a raft of social issues such as immigration, Islam and Roma communities. He is very active on social media and has used these platforms to present his political views on Islam, which he describes as a violent faith, having claimed many times that most of Muslims are Jihadists.
Myth debunked: Mr. Tzimeros makes claims in his article that do not seem to be based on evidence. He provides poor evidence on the origin of the picture which, although seems to have been taken in Greece, he claims has been taken at the “centre of a European city”. On the topic of “religious police”, he only says that they already exist in Europe. These are very generic statements which seem to be used only to drive home a hateful theory, not to provide actual evidence. Furthermore, references to Athens “evolving into Islamabad” and “Muslim-occupied areas” in Europe are clear markers of the inflammatory narrative that Muslims have come to Europe to take over, a narrative often used by the far-Right.
The distinction Thanos Tzimeros makes in his article between Christian and Muslims is also interesting and it begs the questions; how many people is enough? Why is 80% of the population enough to close roads for a religious event, but 1000 people not enough to be allowed to pray on the pavement? The right to freedom of religious belief is a fundamental right, and there is no number or percentage attached to this right.
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