As per the new study, the pandemic has amplified some of the worst narratives about Islam and Muslims, rather than lowering anti-Muslim hate crimes.
According to a new report on Islamophobia in Europe, “In the last two years, hate crimes against Muslims have “worsened, if not reached a tipping point.”
Although the pandemic resulted in fewer violent attacks against Muslims and their places of worship, it did not decrease hate speech. Instead, the authors claim that there has been a surge in online hate speech, which could have long-term ramifications for how Islamophobia is addressed across Europe.
According to a survey published in 2020 that looked at the internet, Islamophobia trends identified numerous examples of fake news, including claims that Muslims were COVID-19 super-spreaders.
Mosques were COVID-19 vectors, that pandemic restrictions were applied more leniently to Muslims out of fear of being accused of bigotry.
Such fake news reports indicated a convergence and evolution in anti-Muslim narratives, which are frequent themes among Islamophobes.
The notion of tying pictures of Muslims to the pandemic, and so legitimising negative stereotypes about Muslims and the virus, was also aided by mainstream media outlets.
Two mosques in France were attacked this week amid increased anti-Muslim rhetoric from the country’s political establishment, which increasingly casts Muslims as a threat from inside.
France has shut down more than 17 mosques in the past two years for breaking nebulous “security rules” or failing to meet “safety criteria.” A total of 89 mosques are also being monitored.
According to a report, France’s systemic pressure on Muslims has resulted in an unprecedented “increasing number of police searches, threats of evictions, mosque and school closures, including the dissolution of a humanitarian NGO and a human rights organisation defending Muslims in France against racism and discrimination, “as well as the dissolution of a humanitarian NGO and a human rights organisation defending Muslims in France against racism and discrimination.