An anti-immigration group in Norway mistook a picture of empty bus seats for a group of women wearing burkas in an online post fuelling Islamophobic hate.
The picture was posted in Norwegian Facebook group “Fedreland viktigst”, which translates as “fatherland first”, alongside a comment which read: “What do people think of this?”
Many members of group began writing anti-Muslim comments, suggesting the photo was “scary” and proof that a ban against burkas is needed.
According to the Washington Post, more than a hundred people commented on it with one Islamophobic user saying: “You can never know who is under there. Could be terrorists with weapons.”
In June, Norway’s Government proposed a ban on burkas and other face-covering veils in a move which follows France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Bulgaria. It comes after an increase in Muslim immigration in Norway.
Johan Slattavik, who posted the photo into the group, told WorldViews in a Facebook message that it was a “little practical joke”.
He said: “I laid out the photo to see what happened. I ended up having a good laugh.”
Sindre Beyer posted a screenshot of the error on Facebook and wrote: “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 told Norway’s news organisation Nettavisen that he had shared the mistake so people could “see what’s happening in the dark corners” of the web