Members of a Norwegian anti-immigrant group have been left with egg on their faces after one of them awkwardly mistook a photo of empty bus seats for Muslim women wearing burqas. Really, it's as ridiculous as it sounds.
A man shared the image to the private Facebook group Fedrelandet viktigst (which translates as Fatherland first), with the caption “What do people think of this?” which paved the way for a barrage of Islamophobic comments. A screenshot of the post has since gone viral and been mocked around the world.
More than 100 people commented on the post, with some loathsome individuals labelling the bus seats "scary", "tragic", "frightening" and proof that Norway should ban burqas, The Local reported. Others were freaked out by the possibility that the "women" could be carrying "weapons and bombs” beneath their garments.
“Get them out of our country, those who look like collapsed umbrellas. Frightening times we are living in,” one commenter wrote, while another chimed in: “I thought it would be like this in the year 2050, but it is happening NOW!!!!" reported The Local.
The Norwegian government proposed a ban on burqas and other face-covering veils in June, which would bar them from kindergartens, schools and universities if the move passes. The full-face veil is already banned or restricted in public places in other European countries including France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria.
The private post came to light after Sindre Beyer shared a screenshot on Facebook. “What happens when a photo of some empty bus seats is posted to disgusting Facebook group and nearly everyone thinks they see a bunch of burkas," he said.
Johan Slattavik, the man who originally posted the photo, denied he mistook the bus seats for women, however, reportedly telling WorldViews in a Facebook message that it was all just "a little practical joke" because he was bored. “I laid out the photo to see what happened. I ended up having a good laugh.” May we recommend he try birdwatching or calligraphy next time?