Friday, 01 November 2019 17:20

GERMANY – Removal of pork from children’s menu again used as a sign German culture is being threatened

Reporting on the removal of pork from the menu of Düsseldorf kindergartens, the weekly magazine Junge Freiheit implies that Muslim customs are a threat to German culture. Without using sensationalist or overtly anti-Muslim language, the news outlet frames the issue as a problem caused by Muslims. This is Germany’s media monitoring highlight for October.

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.

junge freiheit pork mealsDate of publication: 28 October 2019

Media Outlet: Junge Freiheit ("Young Freedom") is a German weekly newspaper that lies between national-conservative and far-right on the media spectrum, often catering to narratives of the so-called "New Right"

Link: http://bit.ly/jungefreiheit 

Headline: “Consideration for Muslims: Hardly any pork left in Düsseldorf's kindergarten”

Examination of the anti-Muslim content: The article reports on a Düsseldorf kindergarten’s reduction in the provision of pork meals, implying that Muslim customs are threatening German culture. The main problem in this article is its framing of the issue. While it does not use sensationalist or overtly anti-Muslim language and while it does report the nuances of this story later in the text, it frames the issue as a problem and one that is caused by Muslims. 

For instance, the sub-heading of the article speaks of “cultural self-abandonment” – insinuating a kind of weak-willed subservience to Islam – thus presenting the issue of a reduction in the provision of pork meals in kindergartens as problematic from the onset. 

Moreover, the headline of the article – the part that will be visible on social media where users often do not read entire articles before sharing and commenting – focuses exclusively on Muslim children. However, according to a statement issued by a speaker for the kindergarten in question who is present in the actual article, the kindergarten’s diet is based on the needs of the children which includes giving consideration to children of Muslim and Jewish families. Elaborating on this point, the article even describes how other kindergartens have stated that pork is offered less and less because it harms the group dynamic if some children receive different food to others. Additionally, kindergarten teachers emphasised that pork is not considered to be the healthiest type of meat. 

Yet the article initially frames the issue arising from Muslims in German kindergartens, only later admitting that Jewish children, too, do not consume pork. It also casts doubt on the meat being less healthy playing a role by presenting it after evoking far-right fears of a so-called “Islamisation” of Germany. This structure frames the health factor as an excuse of sorts to avoid admitting that the kindergarten’s diet was indeed changed to appease Muslims. 

Food is a topic deeply connected to feelings of national identity and as such, it is an easy way to rile up fears about German culture being replaced by customs that are presented as alien. Combined with the topic of German children, stories such as these make for powerful narratives that can generate fear-mongering and passionate anti-Muslim reactions. 

More to read:

Islamophobia: Germany and its pigs

How Islamophobes Weaponize Pork

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