Anxiety About Muslim Refugees Is Stoked Online by the Far-Right Media

28refugee-media-master768Source: The New York Times

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Type the word refugees into Facebook and some alarming “news” will appear about a refugee rape crisis, a refugee flesh-eating disease epidemic and a refugee-related risk of female genital mutilation — none of it true.

For the months leading up to the presidential election, and in the days since President Trump took office, ultraconservative websites like Breitbart News and Infowars have published a cycle of eye-popping stories with misleading claims about refugees. And it is beginning to influence public perception, experts say.

That shift was evident on Friday, as many Americans heralded the news that the Trump administration intended to temporarily curb all refugee resettlement and increase the vetting of Syrians.

“There really is a kind of cultural battle going on,” said Cecillia Wang, the deputy legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union. “There’s no question that kind of xenophobic or anti-Muslim bias is infecting our political discourse about refugees.”

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