While the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe continues, an image, said to show Syrian refugees waving ISIS flags in Germany, has proven to be a hoax. The image is from an incident back in 2012 and has nothing to do with the presence of ISIS in Germany at the current time.
The photo (included above) was one of several shared widely on the social media this week and was said to show Syrian refugees carrying ISIS flags in a violent confrontation with German police.
Many right-wing media outlets reportedly picked up on the image and have shared it tens of thousands of times since then, purporting that it represents members of ISIS in Germany. On top of this, many memes have been created from the image and widely shared.
According to the Independent, one of these outlets was the Conservative Post, who reportedly stated that the photo was a “new leaked picture” confirming its claims that among the Syrian refugees, there are many representatives of ISIS in Germany at the present time.
There are many theories making the rounds on the social media that ISIS is using the current Syrian migrant crisis to sneak thousands of terrorists into Europe, mixing in with the groups.
However, it turns out the image represents protests in Bonn, Germany, back in May 2012 and had nothing at all to do with the presence of ISIS in Germany.
That protest was reportedly started by one of the then-ascendant far-right political parties in Germany, and the Muslims shown in the image were actually part of a counter-protest against the anti-Islam rally.
The image, taken in 2012 and shown in the tweet below, was used in an article talking of the protesters’ court case in February 2013.
— Dirk Baehr (@DirkBaehr) February 15, 2013
A video was released at the time that appears to be of the same protest at the anti-Islam rally in Bonn. That video was uploaded in 2012, and while the flag looks like the current ISIS flag, the one depicted was apparently used long before it became a widely used ISIS symbol.
Reportedly, the symbol was taken up by ISIS more recently, as it was already a well-established icon used by many other groups.
The Independent quotes Charlie Winter from the Quilliam Foundation as telling them earlier this year that ISIS wants to align themselves with other movements and “place themselves in a jihadist context.”
“The shahada and the Prophet’s seal are important symbols that all Muslims share.
“So, by co-opting words which have nothing to do with jihadism, they [Isis] broaden themselves and try to claim ideological territory that they wouldn’t be able to if they had something specific.”
The Mirror reports that Vice conducted a thorough examination of the hoax images and says they are definitely fakes being used by right-wingers to sway public opinion on the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe.
These aren’t refugees and the picture is old. It was taken at an anti-Islam rally in Bonn in 2012. Via @Independent pic.twitter.com/3wDQeV9k0e
— Mitchell Agg (@MitchellAgg) September 15, 2015
Philip Kleinfeld of Vice said, “Photographs like [these] are being circulated on a number of far-right Facebook pages including the EDL, South East Alliance (a far-right EDL splinter-group) and Pegida UK.”
[Image: Jewish Defense League UK]