On October 9, news portal "Alt-Info" published an article entitled "Thousands of Polish Christians formed a human chain on the country’s border and prayed against the islamisation of Europe." As reported by the news portal, on October 7, on the borderlands of Poland, thousands of Polish citizens gathered to celebrate the victory of Christian Kingdoms’ Coalition over the Ottoman Empire and prayed against the islamisation of Europe. A feature on Breitbart.com headlined: “PICS: Thousands of Poles Pray on the Border Against ‘Islamisation of Europe", is stated as the primary source of information for the Alt-info piece.
Real Fact: On October 7, Polish Catholics marched along the country's borderline and prayed for the deliverance of Poland and the world. This large-scale event started with the morning mass and lasted for about 2 hours. Members of the clergy were also present at the site, conducting liturgy and popular prayer. The event was interpreted in various fashions; part of the society saw the march as a protest against Islam and migrants. However, the organizers declare that the intent of the gathering was to pray for peace in Poland and across the globe and not against any particular group of people. The choice of the Polish border as the venue for meeting was to symbolically express the desire of Polish Catholics to encompass the world with prayer.
Manipulation in the material published by Alt-Info and Breitbart
- The assertion of the event organisers, which informs that the march is not intended as a battlecry against anyone or anything, is omitted.
- In Breitbart’s case, only the part of the march participants who discuss the threats coming from Islam are exhibited, whereas Alt-info makes no mention of the different points of view held by the people present at the prayer.
Breitbart's article is accompanied with photos by Associated Press, which depict the comments by the gathering’s participants who link Islam and terrorism together.
The comments of the participants are also attached to the items prepared by Associated Press and the BBC, but these media outlets reveal the diverse and different viewpoints of the event participants and not only the stance of a particular side of the argument. For one side of the worshippers, this is a prayer for peace and an expression of faith, for others it is to challenge the threat from Islam. Besides that, the organisers' position about the motives of the mouvement is communicated by both reports.
About the Battle of Lepanto: The last great battle of the Cyprus War ( 1570-1573 ) between the rowing-vessel Fleets of the Ottoman empire and the Holy League (Venice, Spain, Rome, the Pope, Malta and the Italian states). It was held on 7 October 1571.
On Alt-Info and Breitbart.com: Alt-Info.com is a web site that mainly publishes manipulative materials with antiliberal and homophobic content. On the Facebook page of the website, in the category ‘About Us’ it is noted that Alt-info is a news site. Breitbart News is an ultra-right news agency founded by Conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart in 2007. The agency often publishes misinformation, as well as publications and manipulative news stories based on conspiracy theories.
Prepared by Gvantsa Devidze
Myth Detector Laboratory