Vlaams Belang replaces Antwerp name signs with 'completely' misspelt Arabic

Vlaams Belang replaces Antwerp name signs with 'completely' misspelt Arabic
Credit: Vlaams Belang/Screengrab

The Flemish far-right Vlaams Belang party replaced the Antwerp place name signs with Arabic ones on Thursday night, as a protest against "the Islamisation of the city." However, Arabic speakers have pointed out that they completely misspelt the new name.

Vlaams Belang members went to different districts in Antwerp and replaced the name signs with Arabic ones, and suggested that the majority of Antwerp residents will be Muslim by 2055 and that the city is "becoming Antwerpistan." Several Arabic speakers, however, have pointed out on social media that Vlaams Belang's new signs are full of spelling mistakes in Arabic.

"What a stupid action. Antwerp is completely misspelt," said vocal social media user Yassine Boubout. "Not only do you read from right to left in Arabic, the letters have not even been written together. In Arabic, you read: 'B R I W T N A'."

He pointed out that the correct spelling of Antwerp in Arabic would be 'أنتويرب' and added that the language has no capital letters because the shapes and position of the letters can change the words' meaning.

"Names and meanings on traffic signs are therefore also written together," he said, adding that these "Vlaams Blok members" – referring to Vlaams Belang's previous name, which it changed after being convicted of racism – "hate something they don't even know."

Other social media users questioned the legality of covering up traffic signs, pointed out several other mistakes and highlighted the irony of wanting to fight the so-called "Islamisation and Arabisation" of the country by putting more Arabic signs on the streets.

One user joked that it was a "nice inclusive and well-intentioned action," and quipped that people should be nitpicking about spelling: "it's nice that they intend to make Antwerp more accessible!"

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