What to Know
- Local authorities in New Jersey are warning of extremist groups using the internet to exploit coronavirus fears and inspire supporters
- The New Jersey Department of Homeland Security and Preparedness issued an analysis that warns that extremists tend to latch onto fears and manipulate crisis to validate their ideologies and incite potential attackers
- White supremacists and ISIS have been sharing their hate-filled messages and instigating violence, according to the NJDOHSP
While the world is grappling with the COVID-19 crisis, including right here in the tri-state area, local authorities in New Jersey are warning of extremist groups using the Internet to exploit coronavirus fears and inspire supporters.
The New Jersey Department of Homeland Security and Preparedness issued an analysis that warns that extremists tend to latch onto fears and manipulate crisis to validate their ideologies and incite potential attackers.
According to the NJDOHS, supporters of both domestic and international extremist groups have encouraged their followers to carry out attacks during the pandemic with a goal of not only inciting panic, but also to target minorities and immigrants.
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White supremacists are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to advocate for the theory of "accelerationism," according to the state's Department of Homeland Security and Preparedness. This theory, according to the NJDOHSP, says that participating in attacks or creating other forms of mass chaos will accelerate the imminent and necessary collapse of society in order to build a racially pure nation.
A neo-Nazi media group that promotes this theory has encouraged supporters to incite panic, including by discharging firearms in cities and putting bullet-sized holes into car windows, according to the NJDOHSP.
Another example provided by the state's Department of Homeland Security and Preparedness involves a French neo-Nazi blog proposing “exterminating” immigrant populations and excluding minorities from receiving medical treatment.
The NJDOHS says that this type of propaganda is similar to others from white supremacists that have tried to lay blame of COVID-19 on ethnic groups all while advocating for the permanent closure of borders.
The Anti-Defemation League has also warned of extremists using the global crisis to spread their hate-filled messages and conspiracy theories.
"As the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus surges globally, extremists continue to use the virus to advance their bigotry and antisemitism, while also promoting conspiracy theories and even boogaloo (the white supremacist term for civil war)."
The ADL says that although, extremists are relying primarily on fringe social media platforms to disseminate their views, "it has gotten easier to find xenophobia, antisemitism and conspiracy theories on mainstream social media platforms."
Additionally, according to New Jersey's Department of Homeland Security and Preparedness, ISIS has encouraged jihadists to conduct attacks throughout, not only the afflicted, but also the most vulnerable, populations in Europe and the United States, all in an attempt to capitalize on the fear, ensuing chaos, and stress caused by virus.