It’s Norway’s version of ‘The Dress‘. But racist.
When you look at this picture do you see an empty bus or the looming “threat” of burqa-clad women?
Well, for members of an anti-immigration Facebook group in Norway it was the latter. Now they are being roundly ridiculed for mistaking empty bus seats for women wearing burqas.
Last week, a user posted a photo of empty bus seats to the Facebook group “Fedrelandet viktigst”, which means “Fatherland first”.
Accompanying the photo, the user wrote the caption “What do people think of this?”
Members of the group were quick to see the image as proof of the “Islamification” of Norway, calling the image “scary”, “frightening” and “tragic” reported Norwegian outlet The Local.
Facebook user Sindre Beyer took screenshots of the reactions and posted them to Facebook, where they received over 1,700 shares and 3000 reactions.
“What happens when a photo of some empty bus seats is posted to a disgusting Facebook group and nearly everyone thinks they see a bunch of burkas?” Beyer wrote [translated from Norwegian].
— Jens Kihl (@jenskihl) July 28, 2017
The Washington Post reports that John Slattavik, the user behind the original image said that it was just “a little practical joke” and that he was curious to see how people would react. “I ended up having a good laugh,” Slattavik said.
Fedrelandet viktigst, a closed group with some 13,000 members, is symptomatic of a Europe-wide debate surrounding Islamic dress.
Last month, Norway’s minority government, a coalition of right-leaning Conservatives and the populist Progress Party, announced that aims to introduce a ban on face-covering veils in educational institutions.
Similar restrictions have already been imposed in other European countries such as France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
In December, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson said she would push for a similar ban in Australia this year.