February 25, 2019
Gävle municipality has explained a veiled woman on its welcome sign as a token of the town’s “great diversity”. A subsequent journalistic investigation however, revealed her ties to a local mosque, whose leader reportedly glorified Daesh* and even tried to raise funds for the terrorists.
The Swedish town of Gävle has placed a Muslim woman in a veil on its digital advertising billboard in order to welcome visitors, the Swedish news outlet Nyheter Idag reported. The billboard is located at the northern entrance to Gävle.
Johan Adolfsson, communications manager in Gävle municipality explained that the woman on the sign is “one of Gävle’s many Muslim women”, stressing that her appearance on the welcome sign emphasised the town’s “great diversity”. According to Adolfsson, 120 languages are currently spoken in Gävle.
However, this diversity push has caused a backlash from politicians and ordinary Swedes alike, including people of immigrant decent, whom the veil was meant to represent.
At the beginning, some Swedish web users couldn’t even believe their eyes and claimed that the hijabi welcome sign was photoshopped in order to create a stir. However, a video uploaded by a local man showed that it is indeed real.
Sweden Democrat MP Roger Hedlund, who is part of Gävle City Council, is highly critical of the ad for what it represents. He argued that a garment that for many women implies oppression and a lack of freedom shouldn’t be legitimized in any way.
“One should think what this is signalling. Some indeed use this garment, the hijab, voluntarily. But not everyone. This a garment that for millions of women around the world represents a lack of freedom”, Hedlund said, as quoted by Nyheter Idag.
His fellow Sweden Democrat Ghazal Saberian was also inflamed by the welcome sign she interpreted as a sign…