Burqa or bus seats? Check out the photo that’s going viral

In Politics & Society
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A photograph showing an empty bus in Norway has taken the internet world by storm.

The picture was originally posted on a private Norwegian anti-immigration group’s Facebook page, and since then has been shared elsewhere.

The image was shared by Johan Slattavik on Fedrelandet viktigst (Fatherland first) with the comment “What do people think of this?”

Here were some of the responses:

“I also mistook the chairs for women in burqas. Dangerous game for women in their burqas to stand still for a few seconds. They might end up in garbage/bin vans,” said one poster.

“I thought to myself… Well those are three great kids you’ve got there… That’s when hell broke lose,” commented another.

While a third lamented: “Poor women. They are slaves.”

Slattavik told the Washington Post he posted the image as he was bored and was curious about how people would react to the photo.

Sindre Beyer helped the image to go viral by sharing it on his Facebook page.

Beyer saw the photo after gaining access to the closed group: “I went under cover for a few months and managed to join the Facebook group – it was very easy.

“When I saw this photo I saw it as an opportunity to expose this type of content and reaction,” Mr Beyer told the BBC.

“At first I think Mr Slattavik posted the photo as a joke, but after it became public, the group was unhappy that they were being ridiculed on social media for mistaking empty bus seats for women wearing burqas.”

Slattavik commented on Beyer’s post, saying that he never realized the joke would take off so quickly.

Breyer said the group was “kind of disturbing” and that “they also feature a lot of fake news stories.”

Many shared their views on Twitter.

In Germany, one person noted: “The far-right see a threat to the nation in bus seats,” and in Italy another saw the irony: “Invasion of women in burqas but they are only bus seats”.

Some even tried to lighten the mood. In Canada, a haiku reads: “Bloom of a bombshell: Burqas on the busy bus? Bungled brouhaha”. While in Australia, a “Howdy to the bus seats” came from @HowdytotheHijab.