A Polish magazine has drawn criticism for a controversial cover showing a white woman draped in a European Union flag being assaulted by three pairs of darker-skinned male hands, with the headline: “The Islamic rape of Europe.” Social media users have compared the cover of the politically conservative magazine, published this week, to the fascist propaganda that prevailed during the Second World War.
The magazine “w Sieci” wrote about a series of sexual assaults allegedly on hundreds of women in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve, the Guardian reported, adding that several people arrested in connection to the attacks were refugees from north Africa. Below the headline, the Polish magazine’s cover read: “A report about what the media and Brussels elite are hiding from the citizens of the European Union,” according to the Guardian.
“The people of old Europe after the events of New Year’s Eve in Cologne painfully realized the problems arising from the massive influx of immigrants,” Aleksandra Rybińska, the author of the report, wrote, the Guardian reported. “The first signs that things were going wrong, however, were there a lot earlier. They were still ignored or were minimized in significance in the name of tolerance and political correctness,” Rybińska added.
Over 1,000 complaints have been filed in Cologne, out of which over half were of sexual nature. The incident led to a debate over the refugee policy in Germany, which has taken in thousands of asylum-seekers over the past months.
The magazine also reportedly contained articles with titles like “Does Europe Want to Commit Suicide?” and “The Hell of Europe.”
While one Twitter user compared the magazine's cover to an Italian fascist propaganda poster that defames African nationals, another said: “'Islamic rape of Europe', screams Polish magazine. They obviously forget Nazi depictions of Poles in the 1930s,” according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
— erica jane (@ericajanelee) February 18, 2016
— A Regular Joe (@Joe_Irregular) February 17, 2016
1) Cover of this week's Polish magazine wSieci about the 'Islamic rape of Europe'; 2) WW2 Italian fascist propaganda pic.twitter.com/L3vzgCinrd
— Ronan Burtenshaw (@ronanburtenshaw) February 17, 2016
— Ekud (@Bletherin) February 18, 2016
The magazine had a circulation of 76,000 by the end of 2015, showing a fall of 1.16 percent compared to 2014, AFP reported, citing the website press.pl. The magazine has openly supported Poland's new right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party that won an unprecedented majority in October’s general election, campaigning on an anti-refugee platform.
During the election campaign, the party’s leader and ex-premier Jaroslaw Kaczynski said that refugees were bringing in “cholera to the Greek islands, dysentery to Vienna, various types of parasites,” AFP reported. Critics slammed his comments, saying that they recalled the Nazi era.
The Polish government has resisted calls from the European Union to increase the intake of refugees. In November, Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydło turned down an EU quota of 4,500 refugees citing the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.