by RomyLeclerc on March 7, 2016 - 7:04pm
On November 13th 2015, more than 130 people were killed by a group of shooters in the capital of France. This event had been covered massively worldwide for a long period of time. In fact, depending on the country, this news raised different reactions from both the population and the politicians.
In Europe, the attacks were described as a barbarous act of war.
In France, Le Parisien used the expression “This time, it is war” to portray what had happened on the night of November 13th. Not far away, in Britain, the newspaper The Telegraph said “fears of more strikes to come as terrorists may be on the loose” on its cover page. In Germany, the paper Sueddeutsche Zeitung called this night “the darkest night”. In the United States, the New York Times wrote that those attacks “elevat[ed] fears of religious extremism”. In the French-speaking province of Quebec in Canada, the newspaper Le Devoir wrote “Paris struck down by barbarity” across its front page.
On the other hand, in Saudi Arabia, one of the first publication on November 13th of the newspaper Arab News claimed that what had happened in Paris was “a violation of all religion” and did not express Islamic values.
All this media coverage had undoubtedly modified how the population perceives Muslim in their daily life. Indeed, seeing expressions like “war”, “fears” and “barbarity” with black and red bold letters on the cover pages of newspapers tend to transform how we feel around people that look or sound the same as the people we see as terrorists in the media.
Thus, I wanted to see how the world is dealing with this growing Islamophobia. I looked at five countries in North America and Europe to see how big this phenomenon really is. I will explain four different phenomena more or less ordinary that have some Islamophobic roots to see how Islamophobia is experienced worldwide.
Firstly, I am going to use the article “In Poland, a media grab signals rising power of nationalists” in the web newspaper Columbia Journalism Review to talk about a cover page of a Polish magazine using Islamophobic matters and pictures.
Secondly, I will use the article “Thousands Have Attended a March Held by a German Anti-Islam Group” in the Time.com to talk about a new group in the main welcoming country for Syrian refugees.
Thirdly, I am going to use the article “Mummers, potato sacks and clown masks: Why people are voting in silly face coverings” in CBC News to see how the 2015 elections in Canada were transformed in a massive Islamic debate.
Then, I am to use the articles “Donald Trump: Ban all Muslim travel to U.S.” on CNN and the article “Trump ignores UK critics and claims country has 'a massive Muslim problem'” to talk to about the new American political phenomenon: Donald Trump.
Finally, I am going to use the article “Les actes antimusulmans ont triplé en France en 2015, selon Bernard Cazeneuve- Islamophobic attacks tripled in France in 2015 according to Bernard Cazeneuve” from France 24 to see what is happening in France.
The first country I want to talk about is Poland. In February of 2016, a conservative weekly had published a photo showing a white woman wearing the European flag as a dress in the middle of several olive-hued arms assaulting her. The article “In Poland, a Media Grab Signals Rising Power of Nationalists” by Marc Herman describes the irrefutable links we can make between this photograph and the ones of fascist propaganda in the 30’s.
Indeed, the picture is underlined by “The Rape of Europe” written in white and yellow bold letters and the blurb promises “a report about what the media and Brussels elite are hiding from the citizens of the European Union”. The article this cover page is referring to explains the rape of several women on New Year’s Eve in Germany. The cover page of this magazine is showing an undisputable ethnophobia.
In fact, Poland just elected a new government, which can be describe as one of the most conservative government in the world. Beata Szydlo, the prime minister of Poland, asked the European Union to decrease the number of migrants on Polish territory. In November 2015, he rejected the new quota of 4, 500 Syrian refugees established by the European Union. “After Paris, the situation has changed,” Szydlo said.
Another important country is Germany. This country is indeed the open door to Europe for many Syrian refugees. All year long, we could see touching pictures of little children welcoming Syrian families to their country. However, a darker side of Germany had not been massively covered by outside medias. The article “Thousands Have Attended a March Held by a German Anti-Islam Group” by Nash Jenkins published on October 20th 2015 described a group named PEGIDA (German acronym of Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the Occident). This group does not stop growing since the attacks of Charlie Hebdo and since the beginning of the migrant crisis. It has now more than 15,000 adherents.
The supporters of PEGIDA described themselves as people scared of what is about to happen in Germany, mostly because of all those Muslim on their land. Indeed, their leader describes immigrants as “stupid” and “trash”.
Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, said that PEGIDA’s leaders have “prejudice, coldness, even hatred in their hearts.” In fact, an important march had been organized against this group. A similar number of supporters had taken part of this PEGIDA protest.
Furthermore, take a look at Canada. I am from the province of Quebec. However, I will talk about a phenomenon that took place in Canada in general, not only in my own province.
Canada is a relatively peaceful country. Some altercations against minorities, such as Muslims, had been recorded, but nothing more important than in the other countries.
One event in 2015, however, stood out when it comes to Islamophobia. In the middle of the month of October, Canada was experiencing a one-of-a-kind election, mostly because of a new law. Indeed, this law gives the population the right to vote while wearing a face covering. The article “Mummers, potato sacks and clown masks: Why people are voting in silly face coverings” by Haydn Watters published on October 10th 2015 is explaining how a debate over a niqab became one of the most important issue during this election debate.
This controversy was about the right for any woman to vote wearing something on her face, for instance a niqab or a burka. Therefore, it provoked a feeling of incomprehension within the Canadian population and created a massive buzz. Several people went to the polls with a potato sack, a mask or even false niqab. Canadians became more and more afraid of the consequences that brought the Muslim community into their country. They expressed their fear and their frustration through this manifestation. Nevertheless, several Muslim women felt assaulted and alienated in their welcoming country.
Then, one of the most important American political man of 2015 has undoubtedly been the Republican front-runner Donald Trump. The article “Donald Trump: Ban all Muslim travel to U.S.” by Jeremy Diamond on CNN News explains how, with all his controversial claims, Trump has changed the perception of several American on immigrant issues. One of his most talked-about claims is the one about the Muslim community. Indeed, Trump asked a ban for Muslims to travel into the United States.
"Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on," a campaign press release said.
A little bit before Trump made this claim, he called for a constant surveillance of all the American mosques and proposed a database containing all the Muslims currently living in the United States. In fact, with this claim, Trump wanted to create some sort of a debate over the question of having a religious test for all immigrants coming into America. Many of his followers supported his allegation and started to feel a bigger fear towards the Muslim community. Indeed, a feeling of anxiety is growing within the American population and this feeling is fed by Trump’s ethnophobic claims.
"I think that we should definitely disallow any Muslims from coming in. Any of them. The reason is simple: we can't identify what their attitude is," said a 75-year-old woman in South Carolina.
According to Trump, Muslims are a possible threat and many people from that community want to destroy the United States. They have to be “controlled by good people”.
A little bit later, Trump began a conflict with the United Kingdom. “In Britain, more Muslims join ISIS than join the British army,” he wrote in a tweet. All of his claims made people perceive the Muslims more and more negatively and feel differently with they are around them.
Finally, take a look at one of the most important country on that matter: France. It is undoubtedly one of the most talked-about country when it comes to terrorist attacks; with the ones in Charlie Hebdo and then the one in November. The Parisians’ value of freedom had been attacked twice in the same year. The article by Pascal Pochard-Casabianca in France 24 published on January 20th 2016 revealed that 2015 was the year with the highest recorded Islamophobic aggressions. Indeed, in January only, just after the attacks in Charlie Hebdo, 178 acts had been recorded.
In conclusion, by writing this piece I wanted to see if Islamophobia exists within different countries in the world. With my research, I can conclude that it exists in various forms in both the media and in the population itself. We can see this phenomenon in the media, such as the Polish magazine, in a particular group of people, such as PEGIDA in Germany, in a solidary trend, such as the people wearing potato sacks in the polls in Canada or we can even hear it in a politician’s speech, such as Donald Trump in the USA.
Looking at the location of the news under the subject of Islamophobia can help us extend our understanding of the issue. We can see that no matter where we are on the planet, Islamophobic events could happen.
However, we should not be overreacting. Those events had arrived in the past and will arrive in the future. Judging people and trying to find a scapegoat in in any human’s nature. We just have to think about what had happened in the ‘30s. Nevertheless, in order to avoid living the unfortunate same situation, we have to be careful while talking and mostly while listening to the politicians and to the media. We have to open our mind to the other ethnic groups and mentally filter out hate messages that we can receive from our environment.
We have such a beautiful planet and we all live on it. We are all human beings. We have to look through our physical body and our religion. When we will succeed at this, we will know real peace on Earth.
Paris Attacks in the Medias:
· France: Le Parisien:
· Britain: The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belgium/12015522/Manhunt-for-Salah-Abdeslam-as-Brussels-reopens-after-Paris-attacks-lockdown-Wednesday-live.html#update-20151125-0855
· Germany: Sueddeutsche Zeitung
· USA: New York Times
· Quebec: Le Devoir
· Saudi Arabia: Arab News
1- Poland: Herman, Marc. “In Poland, a Media Grab Signals Rising Power of Nationalists.” Columbia Journalism Review. Columbia University, 25 Feb. 2016. Web. 2 March 2016.
2- Germany: Jenkins, Nash. “Thousands Have Attended a March Held by a German Anti-Islam Group.” Time. WorldPress, 20 Oct. 2015. Web. 2 March 2016.
3- Canada: Watters, Haydn. “Mummers, potato sacks and clown masks: Why people are voting in silly face coverings.” CBC News. CBC Radio-Canada, 10 Oct. 2015. Web. 27 Feb. 2016
4- USA: Diamond, Jeremy. “Donald Trump: Ban all Muslim travel to U.S.” CNN News. CNN, 8 Dec. 2015. Web. 27 Feb. 2016
5- UK & USA: Walters, Joanna. “Trump ignores UK critics and claims country has 'a massive Muslim problem'.” The Guardian. The Guardian and Media Limited, 10 Dec. 2015. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.
6- France: Pochard-Casabianca, Pascal. “Les actes antimusulmans ont triplé en France en 2015, selon Bernard Cazeneuve.” France 24. France 24, 20 Jan. 2016. Web. 2 March 2016.
For more info on that matter, check those social experiments out on YouTube! They are very interesting!
· Australia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZVqUU_R9Vc