Students watch an instructional video on coronavirus infection at a school in Kuwait City on February 10, 2020. (Yasser al-Zayyat/AFP via Getty Images)

Is Coronavirus a Conspiracy?

Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 14

We live in an age of fake news and conspiracy theories not only in the Islamic world but also in America, where they have become more popular than ever. Today, there are books, magazines and online forums dedicated solely to the topic, many of which have been energetically covering the issue of the coronavirus epidemic. Did the virus originate from bats? How come it only broke out now and not in prior years? How come it emerged just as the US government exerted greater economic pressure on China? Did the Chinese physician who discovered the disease die of infection or was he killed? What are the Chinese authorities hiding from the rest of the world? Each of these questions generates tales, books, dialogues and interviews that neither the Chinese government nor news agencies can answer. Refuting these claims is not enough when people are so skeptical of the existing world order. The way in which people respond to these events – pandemics, accidents and wars – is no different than the way avid fans watch important sports matches: Everyone knows the details of the game but everyone is keen to know the details behind what the facts hold and what the news says. Sadly, real news is often void of juicy stories that the public is looking for. Very few people possess the ability to hear the truth and act on its basis. There is also a big difference between conspiracy theories in America and those in the Arab world. Conspiracies in America stem from mistrust in political institutions. The average American politician cannot capitalize on it. Conversely, in the Arab world, conspiracy is propagated by politicians. It’s always used to galvanize the masses. A review of the history of conspiracy theories in the Middle East will reveal that the conspirator always has a name: Zionism, the Mossad, the CIA, Freemasonry. – Abdullah Bin Bakhit (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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