This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of March, 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: 19 March 2020
Media outlet: Bama, local newspaper covering the Baranya county
Headline: “Radical Muslims rule British prisons”
Description of the anti-Muslim content: This article begins with an attack by an inmate against an officer at the maximum security prison Whitemoor in England. The fact that the attacker had been previosly sentenced for preparing an act of terrorism in 2015, prompts Bama to expand the subject to report about Islamic radicalisation on British prisons. The article claims that “Muslims seek absolute control of prisons and try to force their extremist views on everyone, regardless of their religion.” The article also refers to Muslim inmates who act as leaders as “jail emirs”, a derogatory, sensationalistic term used by some British conservative papers such as The Times. Without any comprehensive investigation, this piece puts together information from various British media outlets to depict an alarming image of Islamic radicalisation in the UK and Europe. Statistics on an increased percentage of Muslim inmates are also used to imply that Muslim people pose a greater threat to society, linking Islam with Islamic terrorism.
Myth Debunked: Islamic extremism in Britain, and its presence in prisons, is a complex issue, with many interconnected elements, such as marginalisation, unhealthy prison environments and failing counter-terrorism strategies. This does not mean that reporting about Islamic radicalisation is not possible, but it should be done taking into consideration numerous aspects, and avoiding any generalisation and sensationalisation. The intention of this article in Bama is not to investigate the causes and solutions of Islamist extremism in prisons. On the contrary, with its alarming tones and simplifications, it is serving Viktor Orban’s government’s agenda against Muslims and refugees. This article gets its information from V4NA, a recently established news agency with strong links to Orban’s government. The same article has been published in local newspapers and online news sites, all owned by the government-friendly KESMA (Central European Press and Media Foundation).
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