Pandemic Led To New Wave Of Anti-Semitism Online, Study Says

By Arutz-7
Posted on 10/19/21 | News Source: Arutz-7

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a new wave of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia online, according to a research study by the Institute for Freedom of Faith and Security in Europe (IFFSE).

Social media companies, including Facebook and Instagram, must do more to combat anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is the central demand of the authors of the study presented in Brussels on Monday.

Even a year and a half after the beginning of the pandemic in Europe, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic content is rampant online, criticizes the Institute for Freedom of Faith and Security in Europe (IFFSE), an initiative led by the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), in the study.

This has spread especially on social media platforms, repackaging existing anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim narratives and blaming minorities for the pandemic. The study identifies three typical anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim patterns. Among them, according to the study’s author, Hannah Rose, is the conspiratorial narrative that Jews benefited financially from the coronavirus crisis. Another myth is that Muslims use coronavirus as a weapon against those of other faiths – for example, they are encouraged by imams to spread the infection through doorknobs.

The IFFSE report states that, despite some efforts, social media platforms have demonstrably not acted sufficiently to effectively prevent the spread of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia on their platforms. Rather, online conspiracy theory movements have been successful in attracting new audiences under COVID-19 circumstances. This online hatred has also shown itself offline, according to the IFFSE study – particularly at rallies against coronavirus-related lockdowns or vaccination campaigns. Resulting from this, faith communities such as Jews and Muslims have come increasingly under threat and are more afraid to live out their faith and way of life in public because of online hate.