The cover depicts a blonde woman groped
The cover depicts a blonde woman groped by dark-skinned men Getty

A Polish magazine cover showing a blonde woman being assaulted by a group of dark-skinned men has caused outrage.

The cover for the right-wing weekly wSieci (Network) magazine depicts a woman draped in the flag of the European Union being groped by dark skinned men, and carried the headline 'Islamic Rape on Europe'.

On Twitter there was widespread criticism of the magazine, with some comparing it to Nazi propaganda.

Anti-extremism group Hope not Hate said the magazine cover whipped-up Islamophobic prejudice.

"Even by the standards of a far-right publication, this is a shocking and crude attempt to link refugees, Islam and rape.

"Across Europe as a whole we are witnessing the mainstreaming of anti-Muslim prejudice and hatred by the radical right, often cloaked with a false veneer of concern for others," said a spokesman.

It comes after widespread sex attacks on New Year's Eve in Cologne, Germany, shocked Europe. Anti-immigration politicians throughout Europe have used the attacks to justify opposing mass immigration.

Poland is one of four central and eastern European countries to oppose a quota system for distributing asylum seekers among member states. Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic - known as the Visegrad Group - on Monday discussed helping Macedonia close its border with Greece, to prevent refugees travelling through the Balkans into Europe.

The edition is dedicated to reporting "what the media and Brussels elite are hiding from the citizens of the European Union". An editorial alleges that Islam and the West have been at war "over the last 14 centuries" and the world is now witnessing a "clash of two civilisations in the countries of old Europe".

Its lead feature alleges widespread police attempts to cover up crimes by refugees, before the Cologne attacks.

The magazine, which backs the governing Polish Law and Justice party, has previously courted controversy with its front-page pictures. An edition in January alleged a "conspiracy against Poland", and showed German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russia's Catherine the Great and Prussia's Frederick the Great dividing Poland, in allusion to the 18th century division of the country by the powers.