The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) New York office has reportedly warned local authorities of extremist groups trying to spread the coronavirus to Jewish people and police officers, ABC News reports.
ABC News obtained an alert from the FBI’s office, which was sent Thursday, that said “members of extremist groups are encouraging one another to spread the virus, if contracted, through bodily fluid and personal interaction.” (RELATED:Senate Fails To Pass Cloture Vote On Coronavirus Stimulus Bill)
The racist groups are encouraging their members to go to places where Jewish people “may be congregated, to include markets, political offices, businesses and places of worship,” according to ABC News. The alert reportedly also said white supremacists and neo-Nazis were telling members to spread the virus to cops by using spray bottles.
Alex Friedfeld, a researcher with the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, told the Times of Israel that extremists began promulgating the conspiracy theory in January that the coronavirus was created by a cabal of Jews.
Members were asked to use spray bottles filled with body fluids to attack police and Jewish people. https://t.co/djOU2s7uKZ
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) March 22, 2020
“The most popular conspiracy theory is that Jews are using this virus as a means for profit,” Friedfeld told the Times of Israel. “They are saying Jews manufactured it and are going to take advantage of the markets collapse through insider trading.”
Michael Masters, who heads the Secure Communities Network, told ABC News that “from pushing the idea that Jews created the coronavirus virus to sell vaccines to encouraging infected followers to try to spread the illness to the Jewish community and law enforcement, as the coronavirus has spread, we have observed how white-supremacists, neo-Nazis and others have used this to drive their own conspiracy theories, spread disinformation and incite violence on their online platforms.”
“While the world faces a deadly pandemic, it’s a stark reminder that certain groups – notably the Jewish community and law enforcement – must also continue the battle against those who wish to hurt or kill them,” he added.
New York is experiencing one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the country, with more than 15,000 cases of the virus as of Sunday, making up roughly 5% of coronavirus cases worldwide, the New York Times reported.