Zara under fire following head designer’s racist Islamophobic comments

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Zara has come under fire after a Palestinian model shared messages sent to him by its head designer, containing racist comments.

Last week, Qaher Harhash, who is from the eastern part of Jerusalem, shared direct messages Vanessa Perilman had sent to him on Instagram responding to posts he had made about Palestinians suffering injustice.

“So your point is that you are trying to show that Israel is a horrible evil country that does terrible things to Palestinians?” she wrote.

“The people in my industry know the truth about Israel and Palestine and I will NEVER stop defending Israel… Maybe if your people were educated then they wouldn’t blow up the hospitals and schools that Israel helped to pay for in Gaza.”

The Zara designer also questioned Qaher Hashash on being a model despite his faith saying, “I think it’s funny that you are a model because, in reality, that is against what the Muslim faith believes in and if you were to come out of the closet in any Muslim country, you would be stoned to death.”

Shortly after the texts went viral, ‘Boycott Zara’ and ‘Zara must apologize’ began trending among social media users. Users have not only demanded an apology from Zara but have also asked for the Head designer to be fired over her Islamophobic remarks.

Before deleting her social media accounts, Perilman apologised to Harhash in direct messages which the Palestinian model also shared on Friday.

Perilman said that she has received an onslaught of threatening messages and apologised for how the situation got “out of control”.

“I am literally receiving death threats about my children… I’m not ignorant, I’m just fed up with everyone saying terrible things about Israel,” she said.

“It’s just so many people have been super mean at work and saying terrible things about Jews that I took it out on you and feel really, really bad… I even know the Hadids well and I cannot believe I wrote that,” she added, referencing the Palestinian models Gigi and Bella Hadid, who are outspoken advocates of the Palestinian cause.

Harhash said he has not accepted the apology, labelling it half-hearted because she said she wanted him to “understand the Israeli perspective”.

Perilman has since deleted her LinkedIn and social media accounts following the condemnation online.

Harhash, who has worked with brands such as Vogue Ukraine and Versace, has used his Instagram account to raise awareness of the ethnically cleansing of Palestinian residents in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

“If Zara wants to make a statement with me, the statement needs to say that they stand with the indigenous people and are against what is happening in Chinese concentration camps in Xinjiang,” he said on Instagram.

“They also need to address the Islamophobia which is predominantly ignored in European society… Also, a campaign where they feature Palestinian designers who are incredibly talented should take place as a way to support the Palestinian fashion scene.”

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