Faith communities around the world have been unfairly blamed for Covid-19 outbreaks, a UK parliamentary group has warned.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief (APPG FoRB) said some groups had been targets of conspiracy theories and hate speech.
The findings come as part of the APPG’s 2021 Commentary on the Current State of International Freedom of Religion or Belief.
Recalling the UN Secretary General’s observation that there has been a “tsunami of hate and xenophobia”, the report highlights how religion and belief communities have been blamed for the virus; made scapegoats for the outbreaks; and castigated as irresponsible ‘super-spreaders’.
‘Many of these attacks are little more than self-serving attempts to deflect attention from the failure of the authorities,’ the APPG states.
It also warns that the pandemic has provided ‘a backdrop to a further deepening of the repression and suppression’ of faith. Some states ‘have taken the opportunities presented by the eyes of the international community being elsewhere to return to their oppressive practices’. Many marginalised faith groups have faced intensified discrimination since the pandemic began.