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Factsheet: PI-News

Published on 22 Aug 2019

IMPACT: The most influential anti-Muslim blog in Germany, Politically Incorrect (known as PI-News) criticizes what it perceives as the “Islamization of Europe” and “political correctness” towards Muslims in German politics and media. PI-News has connections with far-right, anti-Muslim political parties and figures in Germany and across Europe.

A German-language blog, Politically Incorrect (known as PI-News) was founded in 2004 by Stefan Herre, known only for his blogging activities and connections to right-wing politicians, in order to counteract the polemics against George W. Bush, the Global War on Terror, and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. 

According to the Evangelical Church of Germany’s Institute for Research on Religious and Ideological Issues (EZW), PI-News is located at the “center” of an “expanding” network of organizations and individuals in Germany and Europe that “agitate” against Islam and Muslims. 

PI-News’ funding sources and the leadership are not publicly known.

According to its website, PI-News criticizes what it perceives as “creeping Islamization” and “political correctness” in German media and politics. Specifically, PI-News describes itself as “Pro-American and Israeli” and “against the Islamization of Europe.” 

On its website, PI-News also claims that there are “parallel societies” in Germany and Western Europe due to the “widespread acceptance of Islamic ethics and culture” where “neither the Constitutional Law nor human rights can be effective.” 

It claims that Islam is not a religion, but a “social system that legitimizes itself religiously,” and argues that ethnic Germans “will have to live in a largely Islamic society based on Sharia and the Koran in two or three decades.” 

Some of PI-News’ blogs have included derogatory titles such as “Islam is a voluntary mental illness” (Islam ist eine freiwillige Geisteskrankheit) and “Islam is […] in one word barbaric” (Islam ist […] mit einem Wort: barbarisch).

PI-News has used anti-Muslim and racist slurs in its blogs, including “Afro-Abschaum” (Afro-scum), “Muselbrut” (Muslim breed, in which “musel” is a derogatory term used for Muslims in German), “Drecksvolk” (Filth nation), and “Moslemratten” (Muslim rats). 

Political scientist Thorsten Gerald Schneiders has demonstrated that PI-News disproportionately covers news somehow connected to Muslims—from movie actors to Muslim politicians—giving the impression that Muslims are taking over the country. 

Schneiders has also collected the derogatory vocabulary that is used by in the comments section on PI-News to describe Muslims: “Musels” (a derogatary term for Muslims), “Muselpack” (Muslim vermin), “Drecksmoslems” (Filth Muslims), “Kameltreiber” (Camel Jockey) “Ziegenficker” (goat f*ker), “Schleierschlampen” (veiled sluts), in addition to desciptions of Prophet Muhammad as a “pedophile” and “child-f*cker.”

PI-News is the most read anti-Muslim blog in Germany. According to reporting in Stuttgarter Zeitung in December 2013, PI-News received 70,000 readers daily. Reporting by NEON in December 2017 noted that PI-News receives 100,000 clicks a day. In their 2010 study on weblogs on Islam, a team of scholars found that PI-News was the blog with the largest network: it was linked 23 times by other blogs, used as a reference 106 times, and it had 880 blog participants, 45,477 comments, and 779 posts. Beyond the anti-Muslim blogsphere, PI-News was among the top 47 most widely read blogs throughout Germany in 2009.

Islamic Studies scholar Martin Riexinger has shown that one of the most anti-Muslim German authors, Hans-Peter Raddatz, is featured on PI-News as an authoritative scholar of Islam. 

PI-News publishes news about crimes that are supposedly perpetrated by people of color and Muslims, racializing them and supporting a clash of civilizations narrative. 

PI-News has links to right-wing political parties such as the far-right ‘Pro parties’, organized in several parts of Europe before Germany’s anti-Islam, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) came to power, and the now dissolved Freedom Party (Die Freiheit), formerly led by PI-News author Michael Stürzenberger. PI-News is also connected to members of AfD—the first far-right party to win seats in the Bundestag in over 50 years. 

According to reporting by Spiegel Online in September 2011, PI-News is also connected with other far-right political and religious figures throughout Europe. Leaked emails show that PI-News founder Stefan Herre was connected to far-right Swede Patrik Brinkmann. PI-News also coordinated online reporting with the far-right newspaper “Junge Freiheit” (Young Freedom). After the leaks were revealed, the Swiss Reform Church priest Christine Dietrich stepped down from her administrative position at PI-News.

According to the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD)’s Institute for Research on Religious and Ideological Issues (EZW), the Munich branch of PI-News has been under surveillance by the Bayerisches Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz (Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution), the Bavarian domestic intelligence agency, since 2013. The Bavarian chapter of Die Freiheit, which is connected to PI-News, is also under surveillance by the Bavarian domestic intelligence agency.

In 2017, PI-News organized a trip to Israel that included participants who were members of AfD. Trip participants engaged in antisemitic historical revisionism (“The SS was virtually an anti-terrorist organization against socialists”), as well as calls to violence against Arabs and Muslims, including a call to bomb Al-Aqsa Mosque and “shoot anti-fascists and Arabs.” According to the Jüdische Zeitung, a newspaper of the Jewish Community in Germany, Politically Incorrect’s philosemitism was nothing but a means to mobilize against Muslims.

Updated August 20, 2019