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Derogatory memes, deepfakes and fantasies about invading India: How extremists are using AI to dehumanise the Hindu community

MEMRI exposed how white supremacists had been scaremongering about demographic change in the UK and using Indians as bait to allege the growing presence of immigrants in the country.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is being used by extremist groups to spread hate and propaganda against Indians, especially the Hindu community.

On Thursday (20th June), the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) published a 223-page report about the exploitation of AI by neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-government extremists for their hateful agenda.

On Page 12 of the report, the American think-tank pointed out how voices and audio clips of prominent personalities were being manipulated/cloned/emulated to disseminate racist narratives. A case in point was the targeting of Indians as ‘subhuman.’

Screengrab of the front page of the MEMRI report

MEMRI pointed out that on 2nd April this year, a neo-Nazi identified as Christopher “Hammer” Pohlhaus forwarded a racist video from an extremist group called ‘AZOV Ukraine Supporters’. The video used an AI-generated voiceover of historian David Attenborough to make dehumanising remarks about Indians.

OpIndia has found that the said video has since been widely shared by Islamists to spread vitriol against the Hindu community. The transcript of the video reads as –

India (is) a country shrouded in mystery. It is a cursed land and quite possibly the most disgusting country on earth today. Some may even say it is the worst country to ever exist. In this godforsaken land, the native Indian Hindu, more colloquially known as the Pajeet, breeds out of control like a plague of rats. Often defecating in the open with no regard for its native habitat, the Pajeet spreads across the face of the earth like a cancerous tumour, consuming all in its path while the world watches on in disgust and horror. 

Screengrab of an Islamist handle posting the derogatory video

With almost 1.4 billion Pajeets and rising, our mother earth buckles under the terrible strain as these creatures rapidly multiply in their own filth with seemingly no end in sight. Although they are incredibly disgusting and unhygienic creatures, somehow the Pajeet manages to procreate and thrive in its horrible surroundings. Often mutated due to its toxic environment, the Pajeet wallows in superstition. Its life is one of never-ending death, never-ending defecation, and even more, never-ending degeneracy. To gaze at India is like looking into the very mouth of hell itself.”

As evident from the transcript, the video is not just targeted at Indians but also the Hindu community. The AI-generated video degrades practitioners of Hinduism as ‘rats’, ‘cancerous tumour’, ‘open defecators’, and ‘disgusting and unhygienic creatures.’

A dehumanising term called ‘Pajeet’ (popularised by radical Muslims) is also used to depict Hindus as ‘unworthy of being called human beings’.

Screengrab of handle re-posting the derogatory AI-generated documentary targeting Indians, especially Hindus

On further investigation, OpIndia found that the same extremists had created a 1 hour 22-minute long AI-generated documentary using the voiceover of David Attenborough.

Fantasy of post-colonial invasion in India

On Page 47 of its report, MEMRI highlighted that a neo-Nazi magazine named ‘Sunflower Society’ urged white men in March 2023 to wreak havoc on India through Artificial Intelligence and create a new world order based on expansion and conquest.

Interestingly, an article to this effect was published with the title ‘AI: Route to India.’ It read, “For young white men, freedom has often been available only via conquest and expansion, discovery on the bleeding edge of innovation…Enter Artificial Intelligence. The Luddite impulse at first glance is somewhat understandable.”

AI is going to wreak havoc and is definitely going to liquidate a massive amount of the job market, particularly fields that up to now have been considered safe, and prestigious. For us, young, intelligent, dispossessed white men it has the potential to be nothing short of salvific,” it further added.

Screengrab of the neo-Nazi ‘Sunflower Society’ magazine, images via MEMRI

In the hopes of a modern-day, post-colonial conquest, the neo-nazi magazine announced, “AI is a new frontier, a new path to India is opening before our eyes. We need only take hold of it.”

Fearmongering about demographic change in UK

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) exposed how white supremacists had been scaremongering about demographic change in the United Kingdom and using Indians as bait to allege the growing presence of immigrants in the country.

On Page 183 of the report, the American think tank highlighted the case of an Australia-based white supremacist named Blair Cottrell who shared an AI-generated image of a British soldier being jeered on by brown people waving the Indian flag.

Cottrell posted the image on Telegram on 3rd November 2023 with a quote from a controversial Conservative UK leader named Enoch Powell.

Screengrab of the Telegram Post of Blair Cottrell via MEMRI

Have you ever wondered why opinions which the majority of people hold are, if anyone dares express them publicly, denounced as ‘controversial, ‘extremist’, ‘disgraceful’, and overwhelmed with a violence and venom quite unknown to sensible debate? It is because the whole power of the aggressor depends upon preventing people from seeing what is happening and from saying what they do
,” he had written in his Telegram post to pass off his racist views as belonging to someone of contrarian disposition.

Opindia participates in MEMRI media roundtable

On Tuesday (18th June), OpIndia’s Assistant Editor attended the media roundtable, hosted by the Middle East Media Research Institute to discuss its report on AI’s misuse by extremist groups.

Following a brief presentation by MEMRI’s Director Dr Simon Purdue, OpIndia sought answers to 2 important questions:

  1. Are AI-generated images targeted more towards one community (Jews) as compared to others? You have cited one example of Hindus being dehumanised for instance.
  2. Can legal action (besides content removal by respective social media platforms) be taken against those creating and disseminating harmful and offensive AI images/videos?

OpIndia received satisfactory answers to these questions as well as a copy of the research report prepared by MEMRI.

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Dutta
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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