This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of April, 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: 25 April 2019
Media Outlet: Philosophia Perennis – one of the largest far-right alternative media blogs in Germany whose main selling point spreading anti-Muslim rhetoric
Headline: “Killings of Christians have doubled worldwide”
Description of the anti-Muslim content: The article addresses the worldwide killings of Christians which has apparently increased sharply between 2017 and 2018 according to a recently published report by the Christian charity “Open Doors”. However, the article quickly becomes anti-Muslim and asks rhetorically whether “papal visits to Islamic rulers” or alleged “special rights of Muslims in Europe” could be seen as “capitulation and weakness by the Islamic community, which in turn might find expression in a higher propensity to violence, right up to terror”. While the report does include killings of Christians by radical Islamic groups, the article creates an “us versus them” dichotomy between Muslims and Christians. Specifically, it frames tolerance for all religious groups, including Muslims as negligent behaviour towards a hostile group. This article speaks of “feeble harmony-addicted elites” or “tolerance-drunken left-green teddy bear throwers”, and it holds that “Christians are declared animals for slaughter”. It also confuses the real dangers of global killings of Christians with migration to Germany, invoking popular far-right disinformation talking points such as alleged “no-go areas”. It also uses the frame of Muslim attackers “as warriors, as conquerors” which contributes to the idea of an epic conflict between Christians and Muslims in which every misdeed by a Muslim is framed as an act of war.
Myth debunked: While it is indeed the case that violence against Christians has increased worldwide, this is actually true for many religious groups. Religious violence has increased significantly for almost every religious denomination over the last decade. Thus, while the article is right in condemning violence against Christians, framing Muslims as a global threat for Christians is disingenuous to say the least. Interpreting the world along in-group/out-group lines and artificially adding the element of existential conflict is by no means a novel approach, especially for the far-right. However, it remains toxic and dangerous because it can lead people to feel a perceived pressure to act – as we have unfortunately seen repeatedly in the recent past, this can culminate in violent outcomes such as the Christchurch mosque massacre from March 2019.
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