FACT CHECK: Are Muslim refugees demanding that the city of Munich, Germany, ban Oktoberfest?
Claim: Muslim refugees are demanding that the city of Munich, Germany, ban Oktoberfest.
Example: [Collected via email, September 2015]
Is this true? Muslims demands Munich end ‘anti-Islamic’ Oktoberfest?
Origins: On 11 September 2015, a petition was started on the web site Change.org, ostensibly by (and on behalf of) Muslims, requesting that the city of Munich, Germany, cancel its upcoming Oktoberfest celebration because the event is "anti-Islamic":
Dear City council of Munich,
I am writing this letter to bring to your attention something that I and many Muslims believe is unfair and requires attention. I would like to inform you that the Oktoberfest is an Intolerant and Anti-Islamic event. We tried to ignore the event, but there too many Un-Islamic acts done at the Oktoberfest. Such as alcohol consumption, public nudity etc.
We understand that the Oktoberfest is a yearly German tradition, but we, Muslims, can not tolerate this Un-Islamic event, because it offends us and all Muslims on the earth. We are requesting the immediate cancellation of the upcoming Oktoberfest event.
We also believe that the Oktoberfest might also offend all the Muslim refugees coming from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan. The cancellation of the Oktoberfest event will help refugees not to forget their Islamic history. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
While the petition was "real" in the sense that someone actually posted it to Change.org, it was not written by "Muslim refugees" in Germany as implied by some publications. The author of the petition, Morad Almuradi, listed his location as The Netherlands:
The intentions of the author were also unclear, but even if the petition were written in earnest, it would represent one person's opinion and not that of all Muslim refugees. Additionally, the viewpoint expressed by the petition appears to be a minority opinion, as the petition has only managed to muster a few hundred signatures, and the majority of those appear to have come from people who signed in order to add hateful comments:
Those comments lead us to believe that this petition may was created by an Internet troll in order to foment outrage. The fact that this petition was posted on 11 September, a day on which items critical of Islam tend to reach fever pitch, supports this hypothesis.
It should also be noted that anyone can start a petition on Change.org for any reason. The web site is currently hosting petitions asking Beyonce to make another Destiny's Child album, for President Obama to allow a high school student to have a party after homecoming, and for WaWa to bring back roast beef sandwiches. Just because something appears on Change.org doesn't mean that it was written in earnest, that it represents a majority opinion, or that it should be taken seriously.
Last updated: 16 September 2015
Originally published: 16 September 2015