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RACISM

Norwegian anti-immigrant Facebook group confuses empty bus seats with ‘terrorists’

A Facebook group for Norwegians opposed to immigration was widely mocked after members apparently could not tell the difference between empty bus seats and burka-clad women.

Norwegian anti-immigrant Facebook group confuses empty bus seats with 'terrorists'
A Facebook user shared 23 screenshots of people's strange reactions to the empty seats. Screenshot: Facebook/Sindre Beyer
A user posted a photo of empty bus seats to the Facebook group Fedrelandet viktigst (roughly translated as ‘Fatherland first’) with the question “what do people think about this?” 
 
What they thought is apparently that they were seeing a bus full of burka-clad women and proof of the ‘Islamification’ of Norway. 
 
Member after member sounded off on how “frightening”, “tragic” and “scary” the scene was. Others decried that such a thing could happen in Norway (it didn’t) and worried that the phantom passengers could have “weapons and bombs” under their garments (they didn't because, well, there were no passengers). 
 
“It looks really scary, should be banned. You can never know who is under there. Could be terrorists with weapons,” one group user wrote. 
 
“Get them out of our country, those who look like collapsed umbrellas. Frightening times we are living in,” wrote another. 
 
“I thought it would be like this in the year 2050, but it is happening NOW!!!!” another alarmist chimed in. 
 
The responses from the closed group went viral after Facebook user Sindre Beyer posted screenshots of people’s incredulous reactions. 
 
“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?” he wrote in a post that was shared over 1,500 times and elicited widespread mockery of the Fedrelandet viktigst group.
 
“Just when I thought that nothing from that group could surprise me, they manage to actually surprise me,” a commenter wrote in response to Beyer’s post. 
 
“I think I passed the test because the first thing I saw was a group of Darth Vaders,” cracked another. 
 
“This is the best thing I’ve seen from blind racists since The Chappelle Show,” another user wrote in reference to the American comic’s infamous ’Clayton Bigsby’ skit. 
 
“I can definitely see the humour in it but with that being said I’m left shaking my head over the fact that people could react like that; sad,” wrote another. 
 
Beyer told Nettavisen that he has been following the group, which has nearly 13,000 members, for some time now. 
 
“I’m shocked by how much hate and fake news is spread there. The hatred that was displayed toward some empty bus seats really shows how much prejudices trump wisdom,” he said. 
 
“That’s why I shared the post so that more people can see what is happening in the dark corners of the web,” he added. 
 
The head of the Norwegian Centre Against Racism (Antirasistisk senter) told Nettavisen that the irrational response to six empty bus seats just goes to show how quickly people jump to conclusions. 
 
“People see what they want to see and what they want to see are dangerous Muslims. In a way it’s an interesting test of how quickly people can find confirmations of their own delusions,” Rune Berglund Steen said. 
 
Steen said the photo portrays a scene hardly ever seen in Oslo, no matter how you look at it. 
 
“The busses aren’t full of creepy Islamists and neither do they typically have so many empty seats,” he said. 
 

RACISM

Memorial of Norwegian teen killed in 2001 racist attack vandalised

A memorial to a teenage boy murdered in a racist attack was on Tuesday vandalised with the message 'Brevik was right', two days before the tenth anniversary of the July 22nd terror attacks in Norway.

Memorial of Norwegian teen killed in 2001 racist attack vandalised
Police tape. Photo by Søren Storm Hansen/Flickr

Police in Oslo have launched an investigation after the memorial to Benjamin Hermansen, who was murdered by three members of the neo-Nazi group The Boot Boys in a racially motivated attack in 2001, was found to have been vandalised. 

The statue of Hermansen, who was 15 when he was killed, was vandalised with the message “Brevik was right”, a reference to the July 22nd terror attacks carried out by far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik in 2011. 

The vandalism was discovered by Johannes Dvorak Lagos in Holmlia, Oslo, while on a walk near his home at midday Tuesday. 

Lagos posted a picture of the vandalism to Twitter, describing it as “reprehensible”. 

The graffiti was discovered two days before the tenth anniversary of the July 22nd terror attacks, in which 77 people were killed. 

Brevik carried out two separate attacks on July 22nd, a bomb in Oslo aimed at killing then Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and a mass shooting at the AUF youth camp on Utøya island. 

Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Labour Leader Jonas Gahr Støre have both condemned the incident. 

“It is absolutely awful to see that the Benjamin Hermansen memorial at Homlia has been vandalised just before July 22nd. It makes me sad and furious, and this shows how important it is that we stand up to racism and hate speech every single day,” Solberg said in a tweet

“Benjamin’s memorial has been vandalised with references to the July 22nd terrorist. On the same day as the Eid celebrations begin. It’s reprehensible, and it shows that dangerous attitudes still circulate among us. The police have to take this seriously, and together we have to speak out and oppose this type of behaviour,” Labour Leader Støre wrote on Twitter

The incident is being investigated as a hate crime in addition to vandalism, police said. 

“The Oslo Police district is taking the case very seriously, and an investigation has been established. The investigation will also include the penal provisions for hate crime,” law enforcement said in a statement. 

Raymond Johansen, Oslo’s executive mayor, said that right-wing extremism needs to be addressed. 

“The person or persons who have done this have the same mindset as the neo-Nazis who killed Benjamin and the attitudes behind July 22nd. This shows that there is a need to discuss these attitudes,” Johansen told newspaper VG

The graffiti was removed by 1:30 pm on Tuesday. 

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