This briefing examines how far right Islamophobic pages have turned their attention to targeting mosques in the wake of the recent COVID 19 pandemic.

SIOC (Stop Islamization of Canada)

The page SIOC (Stop Islamization of Canada) (ID: 113065962075296 ) is liked by 10,621 people and has 10,962 followers. It was created on 16/07/2010. The page was created to, in their own words, ‘expose Islam to all Canadians for what it really is…and to demonstrate how it has the force to destroy our Judeo/Christian democracy if given enough foothold’.

Example 1

The following post was shared by the page in an attempt to demonize mosques for remaining open and spreading the message that Muslims were failing to obey the law in these times of crisis. The link is to the front page mag, a far right conservative American magazine known for its Islamophobic content. It aims to portray Muslims as failing to abide by the law by failing to shutter its mosques during the pandemic, however it purports to misinterpret the facts as mosques are indeed adhering to the guidelines of 50 people in gatherings as required by Canadian laws.

Example 2

The page also shared a post by Global News. This article was written to spread the message of inclusivity but the page has used this to promote their message that Islam promotes terror and have tried to associate the call to prayer with the sound of terror. 

The page Patriotic Australians Community Forum (ID: 1400502346653321) is liked by 1520 people and has 1537 followers. The page was created on the 02/07/2017. The page describes itself, that the ‘forum is for like minded Patriotic Australians to express valid concerns and issues that confront our great country’. 

Example 3

This page shared an article by IsraelWired and the accompanying caption seeks to paint Muslims and Islam as the greatest threat to western democracies. The post also links Islam to terrorism and implies that Muslims pay for their religious freedoms through taxes. The post and accompanying article are created to evoke fear of migration and Muslims.

Example 4

The page, World Defence League (ID:196086673748176), is liked by 17522 people and has 17625 followers. The page was created on 14/03/2011. The page describes itself as a freedom of speech page. 

The page has shared an article from “The Politics. Online” about Muslims licking a wall to make themselves immune to the coronavirus. The post was shared with the intent of showing that Muslims are stupid. The Politics Online has been described as having no fact checking and is extremely right wing. 

“The holy city of Qom, where many pilgrims visit, has been the epicentre, but clerics did not shut shrines or prevent crowds gathering. Some pilgrims filmed themselves licking a holy shrine to prove it was safe.” This was covered in an Article by ABC News (the idea that it is proving immunity is misinformation) 

Example 5

This post includes an angry response to an article about the Lakemba mosque, in Sydney, broadcasting a call for the end of the daily fast for each day of Ramadan. The expression of shock, leading to angry responses from supporters missed some of the information provided in the article the post links to. 

According to the linked article, Ahmad Malas, executive director of the Lebanese Muslim Association (LMA), told SBS Arabic24 that many of the residents in Lakemba are Muslim and there have been no complaints. “The council and residents are used to it,” he said. He explained that while the 5 minute long “Adhan at dusk is something new” for Ramadan, the mosque previously broadcast the Ishaa (the night prayers) which go for an hour. SBS noted that in recent years 10,000 people were hosted at the mosque every night through Ramadan and the suburb also hosts Ramadan markets.

Summary

These pages show that there is a concentrated effort to target Muslims during the coronavirus outbreak. There has been a deliberate attempt by these far right newspapers and other pages to single out information and use this to spread fear and hate. It is interesting to see how these hate pages have moved away from their usual right leaning rhetoric in the current pandemic. The pages are shifting towards targeting mosques and pushing an agenda that Muslims are not law abiding citizens. Religious institutions are at the heart of any religion. These pages seek to attack and undermine Islam by attacking mosques. It is also worth noting that these pages have also shared anti-5G posts with content theorising a link between the recent pandemic to the rise of 5G. 

These pages and far right ‘news’ pages will do anything to spread fear in the name of protecting their great national interests, funnily enough it is highly unlikely that any of these pages or its members are involved in politics.

Researched and Written by Maleeha Saeed


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This article is part of the Online Hate Prevention Institute’s special focus on Coronavirus: Racism, Hate Speech and Fake News. The article looks looks at pages peddling Islamophobia. OHPI’s work to stop online Anti-Muslim Hate can be found on our home page. In addition, OHPI has just completed its April campaign to tackle online Islamophobia.

The Online Hate Prevention Institutes has a series of campaigns throughout 2020 and we are currently running a fundraiser to expand our June campaign of Tackling Antisemitism. The full plan for our campaigns in 2020 can be seen here.