BEIRUT: Public outrage over a Facebook page titled “Neo-Nazis against Syrian Refugees,” led dozens to call for its closure Thursday. The Arabic page, which was launched in August 2013, features a profile picture of Adolf Hitler and a swastika, the symbol identified with the German dictator’s Nazi regime.
In inflammatorylanguage, posts demand the “purification”of Lebanon, calling for Syrian refugees to be expelled and lamenting the country’s socio-economic state.
The founder of the page describes the group as a “Nazi movement that is against the presence of strangers on Lebanese lands.”
“Let the vile Syrians leave Lebanon,” reads one post, which continues: “Lebanon is a nation for patriotic and honest Lebanese.”
“We demand the holocaust for the vile Syrians,” reads another.
Another promises “The Lebanese Nazi movement will continue to be a pioneer movement against the Syrian presence in Lebanon.”
Other posts, which included messages such as: “There is a woman whose dog has died, so she decided not to buy another one because the country is filled with dogs residing under bridges,” provoked strong reactions from rights groups.
Lebanon’s rampant unemployment was raised repeatedly in the posts, which attributed it to competition from Syrians. One read: “In Beirut, 330,000 jobs were lost for the Lebanese to Syrians, which is a great injustice. There is no one to protect us or give a damn.”
According to page statistics, users who visited the page were between 25-34 years of age. While the group appears to have peaked with about 141 “likes,” Anti-Racism Movement activist Farah Salka described its content as “very scary.” She is among many calling for its closure.
“What he says is no different from what some politicians say, but more people are doing something about it,” Salka said, referring to comments made by former Telecoms Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui, who said the issue of Syrian refugees was a matter of “preserving our being.”
In the past two days numerous concerned users have reported the site, according to Salka, but it was still running Thursday evening. A Facebook representative did not respond when asked by The Daily Star to comment on the page.
Salka claims to have identified the page’s founder, after he allegedly commented on an article in Al-Modon about discrimination against Syrian refugees. The article featured a photograph of a wall in Sodeco, Beirut, defaced with graffiti that read: “To every vile Syrian, leave.” In the comment, the individual claimed responsibility for the graffiti. When Salka tracked down his Facebook profile, she saw that the page was mentioned on his wall.
“We know there is racism and xenophobia, but this was the first time we saw it packaged in such an [explicit] form,” she said.