Breitbart published a story about a mob attack in Germany on New Year’s Eve that included over a thousand men chanting “Allahu Ahkbar” while setting fire to the oldest church in the country. It also described incidents where the men launched fireworks at police and a group gathered around the flag of the ‘Free Syrian Army.’
However, police and the local paper in Dortmund, the German city where these events purportedly took place, are hitting back at Breitbart, stating that the conservative publication distorted reports from the scene to produce “fake news, hate and propaganda.” Police further said there were no “extraordinary or spectacular” incidents that occurred that night.
According to newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten, which Breitbart cited in its piece, many of the elements Breitbart reported in its story were greatly exaggerated.
Stray fireworks did start a small blaze, but only on netting covering scaffolding on the church and it was put out after about 12 minutes, the paper reported. The roof was not on fire and the church is not Germany’s oldest.
The local police also noted that the officers handled 185 incidents that evening, down sharply from the 421 from the previous year, and described this past New Year’s Eve as “average to quiet.” They also explained that the night likely went smoothly due to the large police presence in the area.
There have been concerns in Germany that they could see the dissemination of more and more fake news depicting a chaotic and violent situation regarding Muslims and immigrants ahead of this year’s elections, all in an effort to help right-wing nationalist parties gain power. German officials have called for a special government unit to combat fake news ahead of the elections.
As of publication, Breitbart’s story is still up without any corrections or editor’s notes.
[image via Breitbart]