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A Lot Of People Thought These Empty Bus Seats Were Women In Burqas And They Freaked Out

"Many of the comments can be classified as racist."

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Members of a prominent anti-immigrant Facebook group in Norway were outraged after mistaking these empty bus seats for women in burqas.

Sindre Beyer

The group "Fedrelandet viktigst," which roughly translates to "Fatherland first," has about 13,000 members and bills itself as a forum for patriotic Norwegians.

After someone shared the photo of the empty bus and asked for reactions, the group quickly filled up with vitriolic comments about immigrants and Muslims.

“It looks really scary [and] should be banned," one group member said of the bus seats. "You can never know who is underneath. Could be terrorists with weapons."

"Islam is and will be a curse," wrote another user, adding that Muslims were making Norwegian society worse.

"Tragic," said one person simply.

Although Fedrelandet viktigst is a closed group, the post went viral after someone took screenshots of the discussion.

Facebook: sindre.beyer

Sindre Beyer, a former Norwegian politician who currently works for a marketing firm, shared screenshots of the bus photo and the many outraged reactions to it on his own Facebook page.

This is what happens when you post a photo of empty seats and "almost everyone thinks they see a bunch of burqas," Beyer said.

Beyer's post has now been shared more than 1,600 times and received many comments mocking the terrified members of the Fedrelandet viktigst group.

Someone even used the same bus photo to troll a different anti-immigrant group in Sweden, with similar results.

facebook.com

Beyer told BuzzFeed News he learned about the Norwegian group a few months ago and joined out of curiosity, and he has been disturbed by what he's seen. "This is a closed group, and I believe there is a reason for that," he said.

Sindre Beyer

"Many of the comments can be classified as racist and they are producing a lot of fake news material which is distributed out in the public," he said.

Beyer said he wanted to expose the "prejudiced attitudes" in dark corners of the web so that they could be openly challenged.

"It is only through an open debate, dialogue, and interpersonal relationships we can get the knowledge and understanding we need to avoid polarization," he said.

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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