Fact Check: Muezzin Did NOT Sing At 2023 Christmas Market In Berlin


  • szerzõ: Lead Stories
Fact Check: Muezzin Did NOT Sing At 2023 Christmas Market In Berlin Not Xmas Event

Did a muezzin, an Islamic official who proclaims the Muslim call to prayer, sing at a 2023 Christmas market in Berlin? No, that's not true: The event at which the man was singing was not a Christmas market and was not in Berlin.

The claim appeared in a Hungarian-language video (archived here) on TikTok on December 24, 2023, under the title (translated from Hungarian to English by Lead Stories staff) "This is how Christmas looks in Germany these days..." The presenter is Szilveszter Szarvas, the editor-in-chief of Megafon Center, which produces social media content in support of Hungary's government. Szarvas says (as translated):

This is what a Christmas market looks like in Hungary in 2023:

The video wipes to a clip of a Christmas tree in front of St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest. Szarvas then says (as translated):

In Germany, it looks like this:

The video shows a man in Islamic dress singing what sounds like a call to prayer on a stage. Szarvas says (as translated):

In our country, it's peace and coziness. In Berlin, it's a muezzin. Is it possible that this will be the last Christmas in Germany? The immigration-friendly, migration-vivifying West is giving up every European Christian tradition in the name of 'Wilkommenskultur'... This is where unlimited inclusion leads us. Wake up, Europe, and wake up, Germany! This is going to get ugly in the end!

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Dec 28 12:38:57 2023 UTC)

The event at which the Muslim man is singing, the Andreasmarkt, took place in the Bavarian city of Karlstadt, not Berlin, on November 26, 2023, according to the city of Karlstadt's webpage. It was not a Christmas market, but rather a secular occasion that marks a Sunday on which shops are legally permitted to do business, according to promotional material on the city's Facebook page. The theme of the 2023 Andreasmarkt was "Orient Trifft Okzident," or "Orient Meets Occident" (translated from German to English by Lead Stories staff), the advertisement said.

The event gained notoriety on the internet after anti-immigrant stalwarts got hold of an amateur video of the muezzin's incantation, claiming Germans were allowing Islam to supplant Christian tradition. In an article published on the German Aschaffenburg.news website on December 4, 2023, politician Ramona Storm of the anti-migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party opined (translated from German to English by Google Translate):

Absolutely disrespectful... Christmas is one of the most important celebrations in our culture, both for Christians and non-Christians. Islamic propaganda, especially at this volume, has no place here!

Karlstadt Mayor Michael Hombach and his director of city marketing, Carolin Müller, addressed the clamor at a press conference on December 5, 2023, according to a next-day write-up by public service broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR). The article paraphrased Müller saying (translated from German to English by Google Translate):

The Andreasmarkt is not an Advent or Christmas market, but a market around Sunday shopping... At such markets, the city specifically approaches clubs and religious communities and asks them to participate in the stage program. This year, only two Muslim communities responded.

BR also quoted Hombach on his stance toward Karlstadt's Muslim minority (as translated):

There is no reason to deny these fellow citizens participation in the Andreasmarkt. Peaceful coexistence for many decades has been possible because people respect each other, treat each other as equals and not as differentiated or mutually excluded across the board.

German state news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) debunked the online claims surrounding the 2023 Andreasmarkt in a fact check published on December 8, 2023.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is an ardent opponent of Islamic immigration to Europe who has warned Hungarians about the dangers of becoming a "mixed-race nation." At the time of writing, the Hungarian government's 2023 National Consultation campaign accused the European Union of trying to create "migrant ghettos" in Hungary.

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