Charlie Hebdo Attack and the representation of Muslim Immigrants in the British and Danish Press
A perceived shift to the right when representing Muslim immigrants in the press in Europe has been evident in recent years. Previous research has indicated that anti-Muslim prejudice is higher than general anti-immigrant sentiments with reporting of significant events such as terrorist attacks and the rise of right wing populist parties and anti-Multiculturalism discourses cited as major contributors to this. Events such as 9/11, 7/7 and wider European discussions on the Burqa as well as the mainstreaming of populist discourses have marked a major shift in the media focusing on Muslims living in Europe.
This paper outlines the representation of Muslim immigrants, via conducting multimodal critical discourse analysis, focusing on the 2015 Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack and cross culturally comparing newspapers in two countries – the UK and Denmark. Results indicate a recontextualisation of the terrorist attack situating the threat within each country, with newspapers traditionally positioned as ‘left’ utilising the same framing and discourses of the right newspapers. This is achieved via a variety of discourses in which the national identity of both countries is framed in contrast to Muslim ‘values’ and function as a result of right wing discourses becoming legitimised, with both countries focusing on utilising Muslim ‘voices’ who are part of a Star System that are critical of the Muslim immigrant community.