Racist Facebook group mistakes bus seats for burka-clad women

  • 02/08/2017

Members of an anti-immigrant Facebook group have been mocked online after they mistook six empty bus seats for women clad in burkas.

The Norway-based private group, "Fedrelandet viktigst" or "Fatherland first", engaged in heated debate over the mix-up, the Washington Post reported.

The optical illusion fooled some members of the group, which has more than 13,000 members, and alongside the supposed burka-wearing women was the question, "What do people think of this?"

More than 100 commenters chimed in, with one saying, "It looks really scary, should be banned." 

"You can never know who is under there. Could be terrorists with weapons."

Others called the image "frightening" and "tragic".

The original post was shared publically online by Sindre Beyer, who asked, "What happens when it puts out a picture of some empty seats on a brungrumsete group on Facebook and almost everyone thinks they see a bunch of burqa?"

Hundreds of users commented and thousands then shared the photo.

"This is the best I've seen from blind racists", one user wrote.

Another said, "Then it is proven; the meanest are also the stupidest. I hope always such people don't have kids."

According to the Washington Post, journalist Johan Slattavik posted the original photo in order to see how people would react to "a little practical joke".

He was shocked he had tricked people so easily.

"I have thought about the differences between legitimate criticism of immigration to Europe and blind racism and xenophobia."

"People see what they want to see and what they want to see are dangerous Muslims," Norwegian Centre Against Racism head Rune Berglund Steen told The Local, an English-language Norwegian news site. 

"In a way, it's an interesting test of how quickly people can find confirmations of their own delusions."

But the reaction to the photo illustrates a growing problem and disturbing trend of anti-immigrant attitudes across Europe.

Just two months ago Norway's right-wing government proposed a law restricting burkas and niqabs in schools.