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Corona conspiracy theories – extremism departments have a lot to do because of corona deniers – News


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More and more relatives of people with conspiracy ideologies are contacting the specialist centers for radicalization.

The City of Bern’s specialist office for radicalization and violence prevention was founded a few years ago in connection with Islamist radicalization – due to cases of religious and political extremism. “Since the corona pandemic, more and more relatives of those affected who have drifted into conspiracy ideologies have reported,” says Laurent Luks, head of the specialist department.

Corona deniers instead of Islamist extremists

Before the pandemic, it was mainly specialists from schools and companies, or relatives, who cared about young people affected. “Now with Covid and the conspiracy theories it has turned,” says Luks. Young adults in particular would now report because of their parents. It also affects friends, uncles, aunts – usually older people.

Legend:

Corona skeptic holds up a poster at a Corona demonstration in Uster (ZH).

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The specialist department advises those around those affected and not them themselves: “Anyone who believes in conspiracy theories does not realize that he or she has a problem,” says Luks. Especially since the job is offered by the city, indirectly by the state, which is responsible for their misery.

Conspiracy theory as a process

However, it often takes longer for the relatives to report to the agency. “It’s a process until a person is deeply involved in conspiracy beliefs.” As a relative, you can already tell that something is changing, “but it’s still my mother or my father,” says Luks. At some point you can no longer get close to the person. However, many would not speak openly about it because the topic is associated with shame. They therefore sought help from the specialist department – ​​often quite late.

Legend:

The terms “plandemic” or “vaccination genocide” are often used. The corona myths also include Bill Gates, who is responsible for the pandemic, or the supposedly planned decimation of the population through the Covid vaccination.

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The callers then describe their experiences with their relatives. “They say: You insult me, think everything I do is bad. I’m a blind chicken who doesn’t see the truth.” He often hears such allegations against concerned relatives, says Luks.

A son cut contact to protect himself.

There is no pattern for those who believe in such conspiracy theories: “It doesn’t matter what level of education someone has.”

Distancing yourself from corona myths

What you can do as a relative depends on how deep the affected person is in this swamp. “If she still has doubts, you can engage her in a discussion with a few questions.”

However, if that is no longer possible, you can try it on an emotional, personal level in order to stay in touch with the person. “We think that’s crucial so that the person doesn’t drift off even more.”

Boundaries have to be drawn and agreements made. That you meet, for example, but avoid certain topics. “We also had a son who broke off all contact with his mother because he had to protect himself.”

After Corona there are other topics

Will the end of the pandemic solve the problem by itself? “It will probably relax,” believes Luks. After the vote on the Covid law, you saw that some of the Corona deniers had broken away, only the hard core was left. “But those who see the advantages of the movement – belonging, orientation, recognition, new friendships – will not do without it in the future.”

Topics are always evolving and there are new waves, new content, where people are radicalized. The position started with Islamist extremism, then right-wing extremism came, now conspiracy theories, in the future maybe radicalization around the climate issue.

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