Anti-Muslim racism in German media organisations, explained

Jago News Desk Published: 23 April 2022, 05:50 PM | Updated: 23 April 2022, 05:55 PM
Anti-Muslim racism in German media organisations, explained

The German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle has been systematically targeting Muslim staff over political issues and sacked many Muslim journalists for alleged anti-semitism.

The German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) is facing allegations of harbouring racism and anti-Muslim sentiment over what is described as unjust behaviour towards its Muslim staff, especially those with strong views on Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians.

In recent years, DW has fired many Arab journalistss under the pretext of “investigations” into allegations of anti-Semitism.

The organisation has also long been criticised for its biased coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

However, the DW management has defends its editorial policy by arguing that Germany bears special responsibility due to Nazi crimes committed against Jews during World War II.

In February, two Palestinain journalists, Zahi Alawi and Yasser Abu Muailek, were sacked from DW over alleged anti-Semitic comments made from their social media accounts some seven years ago.

Alawi and Abu Muailek had condemned Israeli attacks on the blockaded Gaza in 2014 from Facebook. 

"What the terrorist state of Israel is doing to the Palestinians is a repeated Holocaust," Alawi wrote on his Facebook page in July 2014.

Lebanese journalist Bassel al Aridi was let go—along with his colleagues Murhaf Mahmoud, Maram Salim, Farah Maraqa and Dawood Ibrahim—on February 7 after an article published in German media targetted them for sharing alleged anti-Semitic expression on social media. 

Maram Salim was targeted by another German media company, the  Sudduetche Zeitung, for criticising the “illusion of freedom of speech in Europe”.

Salim described the dismissals as “career assassination.” “This is a huge blow to my reputation as a journalist,” she told Al Jazeera.

“My chances of finding a job with any other international news organisation are over. It’ll be especially hard for me to get any kind of job in Germany now,” Salim added.

The German media organisations have harboured racism for a long time. According to the study conducted by European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia between 1995 and 2000, the religion of Islam was almost always shown in light of "repressive, anti-modern, and anti-feminine positions".

"These stereotypical images have been reproduced in the media coverage about migrants in general in Germany. The most frequently covered themes are: violence in connection with Islamist extremism; issues 137 of religious faith and social conflicts; clothing and cultural habits (in which the headscarf serves as a symbol of cultural difference); and themes connected to religious education, in which the fear about the potential influence of extremist forces often plays an important role," the study says. 

The same anti-Muslim attitude continues to plague the country's media industry, and DW's recent targeting of its Muslim staff reveals the extent of this problem. 

Its former staffer Al Aridi filed a lawsuit against DW over his dismissal which he said violated Article 50 of Lebanon's labour law, according to Legal Agenda. e has demanded compensation from the German state broadcaster.

"I went through this process because I'm quite confident that what happened [to] me is totally unfair," Al Aridi told L’Orient Today.

"I can't be accused [of] anti-Semitism by any [means] or way. There is a huge difference between anti-Semitism and being against Israel," he added.

The Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor has also criticised the DW decision  “to scapegoat and fire five journalists of Arab origins following a two-month biased investigation into allegations of anti-semitism”. 

The organisation warned that such a decision taken by DW “will only open the door wide to escalating what is tantamount to an anti-Arab purge in German media”.

An ex-staffer had previously reveald  to TRT World racist comments about how refugees in Germany would destroy German culture and the country's values. “When a terror attack, allegedly carried out by an Islamic extremist broke, one editor shouted ‘these f**king Muslims’,” the ex-staffer had said.

DW is not only criticied for its biased coverage on the Israel-Palestine issue but also for turning a blind eye to complaints ranging from sexual harassment to severe bullying, with the management accused of ignorance or a tendency to silence them.

DW is financed by German federal tax resources and employs 1,500 full-time employees and nearly as many freelancers from 60 countries at its headquarters in Bonn and main studio in Berlin, providing services in 30 languages, including English, German, Spanish, and Arabic.

Source: TRT World