A photo of a veiled Angela Merkel blew up today and no, the picture was not a result of Merkel converting to Islam for the whole world to see. Instead, the photo belonged to German TV station ARD that used the somewhat controversial photo as a background during a debate.
I am not sure whether a member of Pegida was hired as an intern and came up with this idea or whether the people at ARD have really bad taste. All I know is that I wasn’t the only one who thought of this as a misplaced joke. ARD received a lot of criticism , many viewers saw this as a form of islamophobia or accused them of encouraging anti-Muslim thoughts.
The broadcaster tried to justify it by saying that it was meant to be a satirical little extra to the subject on how Germany was going to deal with all the refugees that will be arriving to the country. Now I might have missed the memo but how is adding a ridiculously photoshopped picture a positive contribution to your debate? Especially with a subject such as the refugee crisis, when you know that many people are already easily triggered by Islamophobic thoughts.
At the end the people at ARD realised that an apology was necessary here. “We rejoice the criticism and we regret that our representation of Chancellor Merkel was misunderstood. It was done in relation to the program’s topic, which is plausible in terms of our society. The program’s moderator talked about the success of our Western society, the freedom of thinking, the freedom of media and equality. Those freedoms were reflected on our representation of Merkel. Of course, with the image, we wanted to draw the attention to the polarization”, they responded towards the commotion.
Well ARD, I’m pretty sure you will be thinking twice next time you decide to joke around.