Xenophobic rhetoric is regularly attached to innocent Syrian migrants seeking asylum in European nations.
A fake image demonstrating a racist stereotype is doing the rounds on Facebook. The image highlights an enlarged migrant woman in a hijab who is pulling a boat full of migrants. The photo caption reads, “The invasion of Europe.” The image, which has been shared over 16,000 times, is manipulated. There is no evidence to suggest that migrants seeking asylum in European nations are causing any harm to the countries or their citizens.
In 2018, Gulin Cavus, a Turkish journalist from a fact-checking organization, started mapping misinformation about migrants. The France 24 Observer collaborated with Cavus to analyze “fake news stories about migrants.” The study identified 162 fake news migrant stories on 81 topics. The top three stories used the false narratives of talking about criminal acts committed by migrants (30 percent), benefits claimed by migrants (20 percent), and the supposed migrant invasion (19 percent). Often, these stories are manipulated, lack context, or are false.
Under the “migrant invasion” theme, the conspiracy theory stated that migrants belonging to Africa would eventually replace Europeans in population and religion, according to France 24 Observer. People often shared such posts on far-right websites such as Riposte laïque in France. In addition, some political parties, including the Reform Movement in Belgium, also shared xenophobic posts.
In 2016, Pew Research released figures related to the Muslim population in European countries. According to the fact tank, as of mid-2016, France and Germany had the largest Muslim populations in Europe. Muslims had 8.8 percent of the population in France, whilst Germany was at 6.1 percent.