Islamophobic EU poster removed

26th Oct 2018
Islamophobic EU poster removed

Islamophobic election posters plastered across the European Parliamentary bridge in Brussels has now been removed (Photo: Christopher/Pritchers)

Aqila Mumthaz

The posters plastered across the European Parliamentary bridge in Brussels addressed different issues, a part of the parliament’s £29m “this time I’m voting” campaign. One of the issues the campaign addressed included a picture of a woman in a headscarf next to the words: “Because we need to work together to manage migration.”

Conservative MEP Sajjad Karim, Vice-President of the Parliament’s cross-party anti-racism group, wrote to the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, to demand the poster be removed.

He expressed his concerns over the giant banner that was put up to promote next year’s European elections in Brussels and Strasbourg. “This not only adds to the already confused debate on immigration and asylum but panders to the very stereotypes the extremists wish to establish,” Karim wrote to Tajani.

Antonio Tajani confirmed the poster would be axed and apologised for any offences caused. “I have taken on board your concerns and discussed them with the Directorate-General that manages the Parliament’s institutional communication and was responsible for the poster specifically,” he wrote on October 8.

“Parliament’s services apologise for any offence caused and have assured me it was not deliberate. I have asked that the posters be taken down both in Brussels and Strasbourg as soon as possible,” Tajani added.

Karim responded to Tajani that it was the “right thing to do.”
“It is wrong that they ever appeared at all,” he said. “There is clearly a need for these institutions to practice what they preach when it comes to populism, nationalism, inclusivity, diversity and discrimination.

“Like many Muslims across Europe, my family and I have been intimidated by anti-Islam extremists. The European Parliament should be opposing Islamophobia, not pandering to it. If this Islamophobic poster is the message for the next round of the EU elections then Europe is in a very precarious state.”

The poster was part of a campaign drive to energise the electorate into voting in the 2019 European elections after fears of another low turnout like the one in 2014 where only 42% of eligible voters took part.

A Parliament spokesperson tried to justify the use of Islamophobic poster. He said: “The idea behind the campaign was simply to represent a group of migrants, in this case from Syria, because that’s where most of them were coming from, on a poster and saying the EU is sharing the issue of how to manage them, how to distribute them and how to handle the various asylum requests collectively.

“That was the intent behind the poster. But it’s obviously been misread or misrepresented or misunderstood.”

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