ISD’s Head of Communications and Editorial, Tim Squirrell, spoke to the Guardian about the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on extremism, hate and conspiracy, for an article exploring how the pandemic became a gateway to extreme views for so many.
“Over the past several years, particularly during COVID, we’ve seen an increasing hybridisation of extremist and hate movements, and conspiracy theorists,” he said. “Networks built over the pandemic have not gone away. We are still seeing so-called ‘sovereign citizens’ seeking to shut down vaccination clinics with pseudo-legal arguments and accusations of crimes against humanity. But we’re also seeing people who came to prominence during the pandemic moving on to different issues, taking their audiences with them.”