Coronavirus Incident Sparks Islamophobia

A single incident sparked a large number of Xenophobic and Islamophobic responses following a viral video captured in early April. The video showed a 25-year old Australian-Muslim woman spitting in a policeman’s face, later coughing on him, and claiming she was due for Coronavirus testing. Counter Jihad and anti-Muslim groups used the video as an incorrect justification that the behavior was common to all Muslims. In this report, OHPI will examine the nature of hate stemming from the video on Facebook.

Westernphobia Registry Australia

The Facebook group “Westernphobia Registry Australia” says that their purpose is to denounce “…all things we feel are an attack on our country’s lifestyle (sic) and values by anyone including our own politicians attempting to change our beautiful country without our consent.” In addition to disseminating xenophobic content and conspiracy theories, several pieces of content shared by the group embellish Islamophobic sentiments. In the context of the video shared by the group, one commenter writes that the perpetrator should be“[hung] from a tree.”

Allah is Satan inc.

A Facebook page titled “Allah is Satan inc.” has 780 likes, and is dedicated to sharing Islamophobic attitudes. Their profile image depicts the prophet of Islam, Muhammed, as a dog. When discussing the video of the police encounter, members of the group describe Islam as “a cult” and that the perpetrator should be deported and become a “slave for any man.”

Ïzlam Unveiled

This Facebook page is vehemently Islamaphobic, with a profile image reading “There is no Allah but Jesus.” The page has over 2,600 likes and frequently shares Islamophobic messages. A few are listed below:

Stand Up for Australia-Canberra

Stand Up for Australia-Canberra is a Facebook page with over 100,000 likes, and frequently shares Islamophobic messages. The page writes that it’s intended for “Pro-Australians who want to preserve our beautiful country for future generations.”

This briefing has been prepared by Osiris Parikh, an OHPI Analyst.

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This article is part of our special focus on Coronavirus. It is also part of our April campaign, Tackling Online Islamophobia. The Online Hate Prevention Institutes has a series of campaigns throughout 2020 and we are currently running a fundraiser to expand our May campaign to stop online Misogyny. The full plan for our campaigns in 2020 can be seen here.