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New Phase of Islamophobia; Fake News ‘Ramadan Riot’ Blamed on Birmingham Muslims, Actually Swiss Football Hooligans

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Right-wing online anger focused on Birmingham this week after it was claimed a video, circulated on social media, showed Muslim gangs rioting in Birmingham. The only problem? The footage was actually of Swiss football hooligans.

Footage of the alleged ‘Ramadan riots’ shows a group of people attacking cars as they attempt to drive along a residential road, with over a dozen more individuals converging on the street to join the violence.

The clips were widely circulated online by right-wing, far-right, and alt-right activists on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, and  filled with false descriptions and comments of the event.

It’s been used by those on the right of the political spectrum to back up claims that Birmingham has “no-go zones” for non-Muslims in the city, who run the risk of violence if they happened to wander in. First quoted by Fox News back in 2015, the sentiments were backed up by US President Donald Trump last year when he suggested there were “no-go areas” in London because of Islamic extremists.

The idea of migrant dominated “no-go” zones in the UK, as well as in other European states like Sweden, has been repeatedly claimed by alt-right website Breitbart, among other platforms.

One claim on the recent video said the riots started after Muslims were not allowed to close the road in order to eat on the street while they broke their Ramadan fast. The fake news version of the clip has been posted to Facebook repeatedly while being shared on Twitter over 150,000 times.

Channel 4 News, however, has been quick to refute the authenticity of the clip, confirming that the clip was in fact that for a football riot in Switzerland after a match between Basel and Lucerne.

According to the Swiss-based Security & Intel Group, the clip featured a “counter-offensive” from Basel fans after initially being attacked by “Zürichs Kranke Horde.” The group refers to Basel’s St. Jacob-Park as a “historic battleground” for the two sides.

Fact-checking site, Boom, also reported on the fake news, citing several local news sites in German that reported on the violence in Basel, which kicked off after a championship match on May 19, 2018. Reports suggest as many as 90 people were involved in the football fracas, with Swiss police holding 14 in connection with the incident.

Birmingham had previously been called out by Fox News in January 2015 when a self-described “security expert” said: “In Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.”

The claims sparked mockery online, and the network later issued an apology for the mistake.

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