The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed concern over the alarming number of conspiracy theories circulating online in the aftermath of the terrorist bombings at the Boston Marathon, including spurious claims that Jews, Muslims or the government were secretly behind the attack.
Anti-Semites, racists, bigots and extremists have exploited the attack, accusing Jews, Muslims and others of being responsible, even as law enforcement officials and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have warned against jumping to conclusions about who was behind the bombings, which killed three and injured at least 170 people as the April 15 marathon was entering its fourth hour.
“It is disturbing that once again extremists are taking advantage of a national tragedy to promote conspiracy theories rather than letting the hard and detailed work of the investigators take its course,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “America should come together in the aftermath of terrorism. We should not allow the extremists and bigots to divide us.”
Just minutes after the attack, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists took to the Internet and blamed Jews and Israel for the bombing, according to information compiled by ADL’s Center on Extremism.
For example, an anti-Semitic Web site called “NoDisInfo” published an article claiming: “Zionist Jews Strike Again, Murdering Three in Boston.” The article alleged that Jews “control the security” and therefore will not be caught, but that if they were, “the diabolical schemes of world Jewry would be known to virtually the entire universe.” A day later, the site published a follow-up article claiming that pressure cookers, which were used to construct the bomb, are a “Zionist specialty.”
Anti-government extremist organizations and other hate groups also reacted to the attack with conspiracy theories stating the attacks were “false flag” operations orchestrated by the U.S. government to curtail civil liberties and impose a military state on American citizens, according to the ADL.
Similar falsehoods were propagated after 9/11.
Meanwhile, the suspects, one of whom has been killed, are reported to be of Chechan origin. Chechnya is a predominatly Muslim country.