Rage against the Muslimeen

Rage against the Muslimeen
3 min read
19 Feb, 2015
Blog: Muslims appear to be the targets of the French media following the deaths in Copenhagen by a gunman.
Many Muslims in Europe have pointed out rising Islamophobic sentiments [AFP]

Another extremist attack, and another media frenzy. French media, still reeling from the Charlie Hebdo attacks, were quick to link the latest act of violence in Copenhagen to events in Paris a month earlier.

Statistics printed in the media revealed that Danes made up the majority of the hundreds of Scandinavians who had left their homes to join the Islamic State group.

Few pointed out that the suspect in Copenhagen, Omar el-Hussein, was born and raised in Denmark and had never travelled to Syria or Iraq, or fought for any group. They also appeared reluctant to report his criminal record.

Once again, the French media failed to understand a religion that France has known about for centuries. While politicians remained silent or used bland rhetoric, it was the journalists that did the talking, and so Islamophobic commentary returned to the media rhetoric.

Le Parisien newspaper published as its headline, "They have done it again". One the front page of La Croix was, "Paris, Copenhagen, the same shock". Le Figaro opened with, "The spread of Islamic extremism in Europe". Atlantico website stated, "Copenhagen after Charlie Hebdo, how many more attacks can democracies take without destablisation?"

Charlie Hebdo,
the French magazine which had nine of its staff killed by two gunmen acting on orders from al-Qaeda, said that there upcoming issue would be dedicated to satire other than Islam. After the Copenhagen attacks they changed their mind and warned that it was "absolved from a truce with Muslims".

They, and other media, did not wait for the Danish authorities and independent judiciary to find the perpetrators, they just prematurely linked the Paris and Copenhagen attacks.

     Terms such as jihad, fundamentalism, Salafism and Islamism are losing their shock value.

Fear and intimidation are back for Muslims in Europe, and the backlash seems stronger than ever. It is now common to hear "Islamist fascism" being mentioned in the media, with the oft-repeated terms such as jihad, fundamentalism, Salafism and Islamism losing their shock value.

A few days ago, the Supreme Audiovisual Council , France's media watchdog, strongly condemned the coverage of the Paris attacks.

In a report, the council issued 36 warnings to 16 French media outlets for revealing sensitive information that might have put at risk the lives of hostages being held in a Jewish supermarket by a gunman associated with the Charlie Hebdo attackers.

It also warned that it would impose fines and sanctions if the violations were repeated.

The French Council of the Muslim Faith declared its condemnation of the Copenhagen attack. This will not stop all focus being on France's Muslim community, which will once again be asked to show its regret for the killings, by punishing itself again and again.

The discrimination against people of this faith are subjected to in France is unlikely to get a mention any time soon.  

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.