Antisemitism and Corona: Conspiracy Theories in a Time of Crisis

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Image from an Atomwaffen propaganda video (Photo: Screenshot)
Image from an Atomwaffen propaganda video rife with conspiracy theories (Photo: Screenshot)

Clarion Project hosted a webinar (see video below), “Antisemitism and Corona: Conspiracy Theories in a Time of Crisis” with guests Jesse Morton and Jeff Schoep on May 13.

A former English-language propagandist for Al-Qaeda, Jesse Morton and member of the group that made death threats against the makers of South Park before he deradicalized and began working with the FBI.

Jeff Schoep was the former head of the largest U.S. Nazi group, the National Socialist Movement, and a key supporter in the 2017 Charlottesville rally before he deradicalized. Schoep is now a human rights advocate and speaks out against his former movement.

The webinar was hosted by Ryan Mauro, director of the Clarion Intelligence Network and delved into a conversation on how both neo-Nazis and jihadists are leveraging our current global pandemic to rally their bases.

Addressing how these ideologies feed off of each other, the speakers also discussed :

  • The religious text that serves as a battle cry for jihadists, from antisemitism to building a caliphate
  • A look at why conquering Israel is a central goal for violent Islamists, and why the U.S. has to fall as well in order for them to be victorious
  • Some of the key players driving recruitment and conspiracy narratives among jihadists
  • The difference in strategy between Al-Qaeda and ISIS
  • How neo-Nazis latch onto hot-button national issues to paint themselves as saints and saviors
  • How the coronavirus crisis is fueling extremism and conspiracy theories
  • How to balance quelching the communications lines between extremists while keeping First Amendment intact
  • Why we need to rethink how we characterize extremists
  • A look at an Atomwaffen video with commentary from our guests

Clarion Project partnered with the Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab (CELL) to bring you this webinar. We welcome your feedback — including ideas, topics and speakers you’d like to see in future events.

If you’d like to hear individual interviews with Jesse Morton and Jeff Schoep, click on our Endeavor Against Extremism podcasts with Clarion’s National Correspondent Shireen Qudosi.

Shortly after the coronavirus lockdown, host Shireen Qudosi spoke with Jesse Morton on how jihadists would capitalize on American’s ‘toilet paper’ panic. Her podcast with Jeff Schoep explores some of the struggles the former commander of the largest Nazi party had in leaving this ideology.



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Rebranding the White Supremacy Movement in the U.S.

Former Al-Qaeda Recruiter: Can Secularism Be Salvaged?


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