Conspiracy Theorists in the Arab World
Al-Ittihad, UAE, November 4
You’ll never be able to convince conspiracy theorists of real-world facts, even if you show them written proof that they’re wrong. The problem with conspiracy theorists is not only the conspiracies they believe, but also their perception of the world and how it works. Unfortunately, the Arab world has its fair share of conspirators. And, according to many of them, the entire Western world is out to get Muslims. The idea of “Muslims” becomes in their imagination a monolith: a single group persecuted by an external enemy. These people believe that everyone in the Muslim world is of one color, one sect and one creed, and that all Muslims are victims. Unsurprisingly, according to these theorists, there is an ongoing conspiracy taking place against Islam and Muslims in an effort to bring them down. Recently, with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, conspirators throughout the world enjoyed significant tailwinds and a growing popularity. They began spreading rumors about the vaccines, Big Pharma and government surveillance. And, as expected, the local Islamist “branch” of these conspirators adapted the narrative to suggest that Muslims are the ultimate victims of the COVID vaccinations. According to them, the vaccine – the culmination of tremendous scientific research led by scientists, academics and clinicians across the world – is nothing more than a secret weapon meant to poison innocent Muslims. This theory assumes that the entire world of non-Muslims consists of infidels who go to sleep and wake up each and every morning with feelings of hatred against Islam. Even worse, this group believes that anyone who speaks reason and refuses to divide the world into black and white – including rational Muslims – is simply loyal to the infidels. The only way to combat this ignorance is by promoting a culture of scientific inquiry and rational thinking. Fighting conspirators and their lies in adulthood is almost a lost cause. The battle must begin at an earlier stage, with how we educate our children and teach them to consume knowledge critically. That is what we must do. – Malik Al-Uthamina (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)
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