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IslamQA: On conspiracy theories

What are your thoughts on conspiracy theories?

According to a former US government official the CIA invented the phrase “conspiracy theory” to discredit US dissidents who criticized certain actions of the US government. It is, for example, widely known that the Roosevelt government did its best to plunge the US into World War II; they even knowingly allowed the Pearl Harbor attack to happen in order to mobilize US public opinion against the Japanese. But if someone had stated these facts in the 1940’s or 1950’s, they would have been attacked and called unpatriotic, and later they would have been called conspiracy theorists.

A very effective way of discrediting dissidents is to first call them conspiracy theorists, and second fund and promote crazy conspiracy theories about the Illuminati, aliens, ancient Egyptian technology and so on. In this way the “real” conspiracy theories are mixed with obviously false and silly theories, helping discredit them all.

So when dealing with conspiracy theories, one should remain aware of all of these facts. Just because something is a “conspiracy theory” does not mean it is false; and just because someone claims to stand up for truth and justice does not mean their crazy conspiracy theory is right. One should be skeptical and critical and try to read as widely as possible in order to be able to tell truth from falsehood.

And God knows best.
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