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: 22 April 2019
Media Outlet: Dimokratia, a popular Greek newspaper
Headline: “Our position - The Islamist’s’ Sacred War”
Description of the anti-Muslim content: Dimokratia newspaper published a column in their print version declaring their position on the Sri Lanka terrorist attacks. The column directly targets Islam and Muslims worldwide, claiming that “Islam is an aggressive religion which implements itself with the sword.” It continues by stating that “Islam is incompatible with democracy and gender equality’’ and that “Islam considers Christianity an enemy and fights relentlessly for the extermination of its following.” The column was shared online by other websites including Vima Orthodoxias, a conservative pro-Orthodox website covering religious affairs. This column was not an isolated incident for Dimokratia; four days later the newspaper published an opinion piece which stated that no distinction should be made between Islamic terrorists and Muslims. The piece, authored by Eleni Papadopoulou, went on to claim that Islam is being imposed by illegal migrants in Christian European counties, posing a serious safety challenge.
Myth debunked: Dimokratia is well-known daily circulation newspaper in Greece. However, any newspaper, no matter its popularity, political or moral affiliation, has a duty to report on issues in an ethical, responsible and unbiased manner. It is for this reason that this column is particularly troubling, as it proclaims the newspaper’s official stance on the Sri Lanka terrorist attacks, a stance which is clearly anti-Muslim. Not only it is still unclear who exactly was behind the Sri Lanka terrorist attacks, but national authorities are still in an investigation process. In addition, to refer to terrorists and Muslims as one in the same is not only incorrect but also extremely insulting towards Muslims. The content published by Dimokratia on the Sri Lanka terrorist attacks is a series of unprofessional content in the form of assumptions which could really harm people. Painting the religion as violent is something that is actively being spread in Europe. Stereotyping by producing stories of ‘’invasion’’ are anti-Muslim tropes we see time again by far-right media.
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