Hungarian government links immigrants to terrorism in anti-refugee campaign

Hungarian government links immigrants to terrorism in anti-refugee campaign
Hungary's right-wing government has continued its anti-migrant rhetoric with a new scare campaign linking immigrants to terrorism ahead of October's referendum on EU refugee quota.
2 min read
21 Jul, 2016
Migrants queue for food on the shuttered Serbia-Hungary border [Getty]
A new media campaign launched by Hungary's government has twinned Europe's two biggest fears, drawing a direct link between refugees and terrorism.

The new self-titled "information campaign" was commissioned by the right-wing Budapest government ahead of October's controversial national referendum on whether to accept Syrian, Iraqi refugees. The government - who opposes migration from non-Europeans to Hungary - has used the referendum as an excuse to exempt the country from accepting refugees allocated to them in an EU quota.

Among the messages included in the propaganda drive were outright lies or exaggerating facts, including one stating that "300 people have died in terrorist attacks since the [European] migration crisis began".

Another claim was that "one million migrants want to come to Europe from Libya".

"Did you know? Since the start of the migration crisis more than 
300 people have died in terrorist attacks." [The Budapest Beacon]

Hungary's government has in the past made similar moves to warn its citizens about migration through television and newspaper adverts, posters and web banners - including one that said that "migrants will take our jobs".

In response to Europe's "migrant crisis", Hungary is working on sealing its Serbia border with razor wire - allegedly working with Israeli companies who helped construct "separation wall" - to cut the flow of migrants through the Balkans to the EU.

Budapest also passed a law making it a criminal offence, punishable by jail, to cross the border into Hungary.

Bence Tuzson, secretary responsible for government communication, was quoted by Hungarian media outlet the Budapest Beacon that the campaign will inform Hungarians of the "possible consequences of migration and resettlement".

"The Paris attacks were committed by migrants" [The Budapest Beacon]

Anti-migrant sentiment in Europe has spiked in response to recent terror attacks in France and Belgium. 

In September 2015, Hungarian Journalist Petra Laszlo was filmed tripping up and kicking Syrian refugees as they ran through police lines. 

Earlier this year, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that "Islamisation" had been banned in his country, claiming that its constitution required the government to oppose mass migration on those grounds.

"We have the right to choose whom we wish to live together with and whom we do not wish to live together with," Orban said in April.

"To be clear and unequivocal, I can say that Islamisation is constitutionally banned in Hungary."