۱۹ مرداد ۱۳۹۹ | Aug 9, 2020
Coronavirus: ‘Dangerous’ conspiracy theories could spark wave of Islamophobic attacks when lockdown lifts, report warns

Far-right extremists have been circulating old footage to claim that mosques are still open, causing police to be inundated with complaints by duped members of the public.

Hawzah News Agency (London - UK) - Muslims are being targeted using “dangerous” conspiracy theories claiming they are spreading coronavirus by violating lockdown restrictions, a report has warned.

Far-right extremists have been circulating old footage to claim that mosques are still open, causing police to be inundated with complaints by duped members of the public.

Abusive online posts have called for the demolition of all mosques to “cure” coronavirus, and Muslim women have been the victims of suspected hate crimes in public during the outbreak.

A report commissioned by independent members of the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group (AMHWG), seen exclusively by The Independent ahead of its release, warned that the claims could lead to a spike in attacks when the lockdown lifts.

Co-author Imran Awan, a professor of criminology at Birmingham City University, said: “The Covid-19 crisis has been used to create ‘others’ of Muslims, blaming them for the spread of the virus. The spread of fake news online is contributing to this extremely worrying trend.

“While we haven’t yet seen this translate into physical hate crimes, once social distancing rules are relaxed there are concerns that this could be the case.”

In one recent incident, a Muslim woman wearing a hijab and a protective mask overheard a man in a supermarket say to his partner “look, a bomb” as he pointed at her.

In another incident, which was reported to the Metropolitan Police, a Muslim woman said she was approached by a man who coughed in her face and claimed he had coronavirus.

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