As the world is suffering from this pandemic, few are trying to use it to promote their extremist agendas. Neo-Nazis and far-right groups are encouraging their followers to deliberately infect Muslims and Jews with Covid19. According to a new report, they are trying to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to breed hate.
Neo-Nazis is a group that is trying to revive the ideology of Nazism in the modern world. Reportedly, their agenda promotes discrimination and hatred, especially towards minorities. These organizations are functional in various parts of the world.
Commission for Countering Extremism in the UK has published a new report saying there is an increase in complaints regarding extremist groups including far-left, far-right and Islamist extremists. These extremist groups are trying to create division in communities by making use of the coronavirus pandemic.
The commission said that there are reports of harmful propaganda and misinformation being spread around. Islamist groups were claiming that Coronavirus is a divine punishment for suspected corruption of the west or it’s a punishment for Chinese for their treatment of the Uyghur Muslims.
One theory linked the virus with 5G technology. These conspiracies led to more than 50 incidents in April when the residents of the UK either vandalized or burned down 5G poles. News outlets and far-right politicians also tried to normalize the hate against ethnic and religious groups by spreading anti-immigrant and populist messages.
The commission also called on the government and social media companies to take action after it was found that 90% of posts spreading misinformation were not taken down even though they were reported. It said that there must be a new counter-terrorism strategy published by the government which should define hateful extremism and intervenes when necessary.
The lead commissioner Sara Khan said that classifications should be made for conspiracy theories in accordance with the level of harm they can create and they must be dealt with before they can cause any harm, breed hate, or create division. She gave an example of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories so that the government understands and counter any future vaccine theories.
One conspiracy theory stated that coronavirus pandemic is fake and is a part of a plot by Jews to deceive the public. While another theory claims that Muslims are the reason for the spread as they kept the mosques open during the lockdown. The commission believes many baseless conspiracy theories were largely spread online. One social media post spreading fake news of Muslims breaching the lockdown was shared 2700 times.
The FBI issued an alert on Thursday telling the cops to beware as there are reports that extremists have instructed their followers to use spray bottles to spread respiratory droplets on cops on the street. The extremists are also targeting the Jews by directing their followers to go to any place where the Jews are gathered including political houses, places of worship, markets, and businesses.
The lead commissioner also believes that there are gaps in existing terror laws that the extremists use to their advantage and to promote their agenda. She described the response from the government as weak and believes that the complete overhaul of the policy to counter extremists is needed.