This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of October, 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: 24 October 2019
Media outlet: Sceptr, alternative media covering news in Belgium and the Netherlands
Author: Tom Lallemand
Headline: “Book interview Islamization and jihad terror: ‘Sensitivity underestimated.’”
Description of the anti-Muslim and xenophobic content: This article, which appeared on the alternative news website Sceptr, is an interview between Sceptr journalist Tom Lallemand and author Mark Scholliers. The piece focuses on Scholliers' newest book ‘Holy Revenge’ which is a political thriller that focuses on Islamisation and jihad terror. The book follows two boys who become radicalised online. According to the book’s blurb, “the reader is immersed in an environment where facts and fiction can hardly be kept apart.” Though the book is fictional, the interview with Scholliers discusses Islam and immigration in the current European climate. In the article, Lallemand and Scholliers mainly discuss ‘Islamisation’, which they claim is happening throughout Europe. Scholliers claims that immigrants are being used to spread Islam: “Islamisation is not only happening as it used to through conquests and - today - through religious terror. It is mainly done in a more subtle way, through, for example, financing and migration, although the latter rarely involves planned, targeted Islamisation.” He goes on to claim that “this insidious Islamisation is happening on a much larger scale and much more under the radar.” The Sceptr article has been viewed 5553 times and shared over 650 times. Two days after the article was published, another article appeared on the Sceptr website titled: “No, migrants are not going to pay for our pensions.” The article took an excerpt from the earlier interview where Scholliers talked about immigration having a negative economic effect on Europe.
Myth debunked: The interview between Lallemand and Scholliers features a lot of common far-right language. The piece talks about ‘Islamisation’ as a fact, and it is clear that Sceptr, as a platform, has established their own truth on this matter, nowhere in the article do they explain what ‘Islamisation’ means. Scholliers’ way of talking about ‘Islamisation’ sounds very much like a conspiracy theory. He claims that migrants are used to spreading Islam, and that this is being done in secret by ‘native’ European people, who have no idea how big the spread of ‘Islamisation’ is. Firstly, neither Scholliers nor Lallemand provide evidence for this theory, other than explaining that some swimming pools have female-only swimming hours (to accommodate religious women, such as Muslim women) and Halal options at school. This, according to them, shows how Europe is being taken over by Islam. Not only is the article written in an extremely alarmist manner, but it also dehumanises migrants in Europe. Describing them as objects being used to spread Islam takes away their humanity and the often terrible experiences forcing them to come to Europe in the first place. The follow-up article, which talks about the supposed economic burden of migrants, develops this narrative further. What on the surface looks like an interview with an author about his new book, is really a platform for dangerous far-right ideas.
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