Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Islamophobia: Viral photo shows how much hate is directed at Muslims

These bus seats were mistaken for veiled Muslim women by a Norwegian Facebook group

Unfortunately, we live in a world where all it takes for people to attack Muslims is a picture of bus seats.

A picture of bus seats has been mistaken for women wearing burqas, the traditional Muslim veil that covers ladies from head to toe.

The picture was posted on a Norwegian Facebook group called “Fedreland viktigst”, this translates as “fatherland first”. The caption read, “What do people think of this?”


In no time, the photo went viral, not for the mistake but for the hateful reactions it triggered on the Internet.

Members of the group wrote anti-Muslim comments. Some called for a ban against burqas while others suggested that the photo was “scary”.

According to The Independent, one Islamophobic user wrote: “It looks really scary, should be banned. You can never know who is under there. Could be terrorists with weapon.”

Someone else wrote: "Get them out of our country, those who look like collapsed umbrellas. Frightening times we are living in." While another member said: "I thought it would be like this in the year 2050, but it is happening NOW!"


Afterwards, Slattavik, who posted the photo called it a “little practical joke”. He said: “I laid out the photo to see what happened. I ended up having a good laugh.”

Sindre Fossum Beyer, a Norwegian politician for the Labour Party, also reacted to the viral picture.

He shared a screenshot of the picture on Facebook with the caption: “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.”


In an interview with Norway’s news organisation, Nettavisen, he said he posted the picture so everyone could “see what’s happening in the dark corners” of the web.

He also said: “I’m shocked at how much hate and fake news is spread [on the Fedrelandet viktigst page]. So much hatred against empty bus seats certainly shows that prejudice wins out over wisdom.”

The irrational fear of burqas and veiled Muslim women has led to the call for a burqa ban in Norway. This happened earlier in the year.

Per Sandberg, then acting immigration and integration minister, said that face-covering garments such as the niqab or burqa “do not belong in Norwegian schools. The ability to communicate is a basic value.”

According to The Guardian, Norway is not the only European country to propose restrictions on burqas and hijabs. Others have actually succeeded in passing laws that restrict full-face veils in some public places.

These European countries include France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria and Bavaria.

Germany has also passed a partial burqa ban this year. It was endorsed by chancellor Angela Merkel, who is clearly against the veil and sharia law.


According to her, "full facial veil is inappropriate and should be banned wherever it is legally possible for enforcing such tradition.”

Muslims and defenders of the burqas are against these bans, calling them an infringement on freedom of religion.

In Nigeria, Muslim women can still be seen wearing burqas. However, there has been some debate with the increase in Hijab-wearing Boko Haram bombers.

ALSO READ: Chad Govt. arrests five and bans burqa after suicide bombings

In 2016, there was a case over students’ right to wear the Hijab with their uniforms, within and outside school premises.


Eventually, the Court of Appeal in Lagos state ruled in favour of Muslim students.

It is rather unfortunate that terrorism is causing Muslim women all over the world to have to fight for the right to wear their religious garment.

What do you think? Should Muslim women have the right to wear their burqas or be forced to give them up?

from pulse.ng - Nigeria's entertainment & lifestyle platform online

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