The Swedish town of Gävle's decision to place a hijab-clad Muslim woman on its welcome sign in order to 'celebrate diversity' has triggered strong reactions, ONA reports citing the newspaper Aftonbladet.
The "Welcome to Gävle" digital sign featuring local Muslim woman Suzan Hindi wearing a hijab has been vandalised.
The sign is located on the E4 motorway on the outskirts of Gävle, which is located north of Stockholm, and shows different people living in the municipality to welcome incoming motorists. Hindi's hijabbed appearance, however, caused a stir, as many interpreted it as political correctness gone too far and as a dangerous sign of Sweden caving in to Islam and pandering to extremists. Others saw the hijab as a symbol of oppression that has no place in a democratic society.
Gävle MP Roger Hedlund, a member of the right-wing Sweden Democrats, was among those who opposed the sign, saying that headscarves "reduce women to a simple sex object who must cover up in order not to arouse male desire".
Vandals vented their frustration with the sign for the first time last week. The damage continued over the weekend, and then the sign stopped working altogether, Aftonbladet reported.