An anti-immigration group in Norway has been widely mocked after mistaking a photograph of empty bus seats for six Muslim women wearing burqas.
The image shared to private Facebook group Fedrelandet viktigst, which translates as Fatherland first, sparked a furious debate among its members after it appeared to show the seats occupied by women wearing the full-face veil.
But the man who shared the image, captioned “What do people think of this?”, said it was just “a little practical joke” to see how people would react to what was actually a photograph of a bus.
Speaking to WorldViews, Johan Slattavik said the affair had given him a “good laugh”.
“I laid out the photo to see what happened,” he said, adding that he was shocked so many people fell for it.
Users described the apparent scene as “scary”, “frightening” and “tragic”.
One wrote: “It looks really scary, should be banned. You can never know who is under there. Could be terrorists with weapons.”
It comes after Norway’s right-wing government proposed a so-called burqa ban earlier in the year.
Islamic veils have become a flashpoint for European debates over integration, extremism and freedom of religion in recent years, with France the first to implement a nationwide burqa ban in April 2011.
Belgium and Bulgaria followed, with partial or regional prohibitions now in place in Italy, Spain, Denmark and Switzerland.
The German, Austrian and Dutch parliaments have voted in support of a partial ban on full-face Islamic veils, but no laws have yet come into force.
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