The Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning that, amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups are urging members to infect law enforcement and Jewish people with the disease, according to ABC News.
Members of white extremist organizations discussed specific ways to do that, such as spraying cops using bottles full of bodily fluids, or sending infected members to crowded public areas — especially those with large numbers of Jewish people, ABC News reported.
“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,” Michael Masters, CEO of Secure Communities Network, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the safety of Jewish communities in the U.S., told ABC News.
“As the economic situation remains fragile and civil society disrupted, the potential for the followers of hate to act becomes more likely ... and more deadly.”
Racially motivated plots to weaponize the new disease have also caught the attention of the Department of Homeland Security, according to Yahoo News.
The department delivered a report in late February that said, “White Racially Motivated Violent Extremists” are calling it an “obligation” for infected members in their ranks to spread COVID-19 to “non-white” people, according to the outlet.
The FBI was also named as a possible target, according to Yahoo News.
Though white supremacist groups may view the coronavirus as a new means of attack, the Anti-Defamation League says many of them are, at the same time, promoting conspiracy theories that Jews are responsible for the outbreak.
The ADL report adds that these extremist groups are taking advantage of the current atmosphere to spread hateful “fringe” ideas.
“While these racist and conspiratorial themes are prevalent on social media platforms frequented by extremists, similar messages are also spreading on more mainstream platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Reddit,” the report said.