A news clipping of the Russia Today broadcast channel, where a news anchor is heard announcing that the ‘newly formed Islam Party’ in Belgium planned to campaign for an Islamic state in the national elections after two of their candidates won in the recent municipal polls, is going viral on social media.
The video, shared on Twitter by user @chittukuruvi4, has garnered 3,31,300 views and 1,026 likes and 681 retweets on the platform. The caption on the video reads ‘If they win Elections, Islamic party is demanding to declare Belgium an Islamic country & follow Sharia law. Huge protests have already started’.
Newschecker found similar claims on Twitter and Facebook with similar captions.
These claims have come to light recently as riots erupted in several of Sweden’s southern cities after burnings of the Holy Quran by Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party. Fourty people were injured in the riots following far-right anti-Muslim rally in Norrköping, Sweden on 17th April, 2022. Social media has since been abuzz with misinformation and unsubstantiated claims.
Fact Check/ Verification
Newschecker conducted a Google reverse image search on the key-frames of the viral video to ascertain its authenticity and found a longer version of the video on Youtube uploaded by user ‘SuperSheenTV’ on 30th October, 2012.
In the video, politician and member of the European Parliament for Flanders Philip Claeys is seen telling the anchor “Until now Muslim people mainly supported socialist parties and other leftist parties. But now they feel confident enough to make their party.”
Claeys added “it is a big problem when people who move to Belgium do not respect the separation of Church and State, or favour of equality of men and women and the rule of law: We should put a stop to this mass immigration of people coming from outside Europe, mainly Islamic countries, of people who cannot and will not adapt to our way of living in Western Europe.”
Upon performing a keyword search, Newschecker found a news report by RTBF uploaded on 29th October, 2012 on their website. According to their website, RTBF or Radio Télévision Belge Francophone is a company active in television, radio, the web and social networks. Since the decree of July 14, 1997, it has been public, autonomous and of a cultural nature.The Radio-télévision belge de la Communauté française is a public service broadcaster delivering radio and television services to the French-speaking Community of Belgium, in Wallonia and Brussels. Its counterpart in the Flemish Community is the Dutch-language VRT, and in the German-speaking Community it is BRF.
According to the report, the newly elected members in the municipal elections from the Islam Party in Belgium, vowed to implement Islamic Sharia law in Belgium. Lhoucine Aït Jeddig and Redouane Ahrouch were the two Islam Party candidates who won the election.
In the interview, one of the elected representatives, Redouane Ahrouch says “”And why not an Islamic state in Belgium?”.
“Today our approach is different,” he explains. ” We must first sensitise people gently and make them understand the advantage of having Islamic leaders and laws, to lead why not, quite naturally, to an Islamic state in Belgium”. “I am for the Sharia ”, declares Redouane Ahrouch again.” It’s a long-term fight that will take decades or even a century, but the movement is underway.”
Upon further investigation, Newschecker found a news report by Sudinfo uploaded on their website on 14th October, 2018. According to the article both the members lost their seats in the 2018 municipal elections.
According to the investigation conducted by Newschecker, the viral news clip claiming that ‘Belgium’s new Islam Party’ wanted to transform Belgium into an Islamic State is from 2012 and shared in the recent context.
Result: Missing Context/False Context
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