Online HOAX alleges Swedish Christmas lights cancelled because of Muslim demand
Now that Christmas is upon us, the Internet is once again full of hoaxes alleging that Sweden has banned Christmas lights at the request of Muslims. The online hoaxes are spreading around Europe and the USA, alleging that the report is proof of a Muslim assault on "our" Christian traditions and values.
A video has even appeared online that allegedly shows Muslims "attacking" Christmas trees. In actuality, what is being shown is a tradition where, at the end of the Christmas holidays, the last presents are removed from the trees and distributed to children.
The HATE FREE news server, a project of the Czech Government, has reported on the 2016 Christmas hoaxes. False reports about a ban on Christmas lights were first disseminated using an article posted to the website of Swedish television channel SVT.
According to the article, the Swedish Transport Agency, Trafikverket, which takes care of the country's traffic infrastructure, will not be permitting Christmas lights on the lampposts it manages. The agency has justified its decision by saying that it does not have legal permission to supply its own electricity for the lights and that safety questions also play a role.
In the original article, therefore, there is no mention of any connection with Muslims. Neverhteless, it was used to disseminate the hoax, unleashing an avalanche of social media responses, and SVT later updated the article to report that it had been shared in other countries in an absolutely incorrect context.
The second hoax involves a video in which Muslims are allegedly "attacking" a Christmas tree in the Mall of Arabia shopping center in Cairo, Egypt. However, what is actually being shown is a tradition in which, at the end of the holiday, the last presents are removed from the tree and distributed to children.
The tree is designed to be climbed, as is documented by the video footage, which shows that it neither collapses nor is damaged by being climbed. If the video were of an attack on the tree, it would most probably be destroyed.
Christmas is regularly celebrated in many Arab countries. The news server Steemit has also documented the tradition in a video filmed in a mall in the Iraqi city of Duhok.
Those who disseminate anti-Muslim hate online alleged that the footage depicted an "attack" by Kurdish Muslims on the Christmas tree. However, the video clearly shows that the tree is designed for young people to remove gifts from it.
- Russian news servers spread hoax that "Western media" are faking reports of civilians rescuing children in Aleppo
- Czech Republic: Anti-Romani politician spreads hoax that Roma are bilking the state - through lightbulbs
- Czech-language hoaxes deceive online with footage from feature films and news reports
- Czech-language Internet again spreading hoax about "free medicine for Roma"
- Roma are most frequently targeted by hatred on the Czech Internet, experts say the law applies online too
- Czech racists spread their annual summertime lies about free entry to swimming pools for Romani people
- Antigypsyist hoax returns to Czech Internet alleging that Roma get free public transportation
- Absurd hoax continues to spread that Roma NGOs want Czech Television series cancelled
- HOAX: Romani actor allegedly "forbidden" by NGO to use the word "gypsy"
- Romani people adopted as children from Slovakia to Sweden 20 years ago revisit their native settlement
- Czech police officer claims to have filmed journalists "staging" migrants drowning, his superiors see nothing wrong with that
- Sweden: Pippi Longstocking gets a rewrite, this time as a Romani girl
- Survey shows people in the Czech Republic trust each other less and have less tolerance for minorities
- Czech Police arrest two Romani men for attack on police, confirm media exaggerated the incident
- Austria: First newborn of the year has become a target of hateful commentary
- Analysis: A propaganda war needs angry, defiant, disgusted, nerve-wracked people - and the Czech Republic qualifies