The Daily Mail just went there.
“There” being Nazi Europe circa 1939, as seen through the lens of propaganda-laden cartoons depicting the Jews as rats to be swept out of Germany. British cartoonist Stanley “Mac” McMurtry borrowed heavily from that imagery for his latest piece in The Daily Mail. Instead of Jews, however, the “rats” are a horde of Muslims:
In the foreground of Mac’s cartoon, a man in a tunic carries a mat, presumably for praying. Just past him, the darkened silhouette of a woman in a hijab walks toward a sign that boasts of “open borders” and “the free movement of people.” “Welcome to Europe,” it reads.
Another man, already past the sign, is unidentifiable but for the muzzle of a rifle poking ever so slightly into the air from his back. Lest there be any doubt about the ominously shadowed man’s true nature, an unkempt beard sprouts from his face, his head topped with a Pashtun cap of the sort worn by Afghanistan’s mujahideen.
All the while, rats scurry between the immigrants’ feet.
Soon after The Daily Mail published Mac’s cartoon, Internet commenters linked it to this work, published in a Viennese newspaper by the name of “Das Kleine Blatt” in 1939:
The work depicts a swarm of rats, wiped from the doorstep of Germany, then delights as they’re barred entry from “democratic” countries — the same ones critical of Germany’s treatment of the Jews.
Upwards of 750,000 refugees have sought asylum in Europe so far this year, many of them fleeing violence in the Middle East. A prevailing — if overblown — concern has been that religious extremists might infiltrate countries by posing as a refugee.
Here are some of the reactions to the Daily Mail’s cartoon on social media: