Dec 17, 2021

Ex-QAnon Believer Warns Movement 'Getting Stronger,' Compares It to 'Doomsday Cult'

December 11, 2021

A former believer in the QAnon conspiracy theory has warned that the movement appears to be "getting stronger," comparing the bizarre movement to a "doomsday cult."

QAnon adherents believe that former President Donald Trump is fighting against a Satanic cabal of Democratic elites who sexually exploit children in their quest for power and domination. In recent months, the QAnon movement appears to have increasingly become an umbrella for a range of other conspiracy theories as well.

In an interview with Politico published on Saturday, former QAnon believer Jitarth Jadeja outlined how he became involved with the conspiracy theory and eventually left the movement, realizing it was all a lie. He warned that he sees the movement as becoming more influential, not fading away.

"These days, QAnon isn't getting the headlines it was after January 6. I guess most of the world doesn't pay attention to QAnon anymore unless its followers do something especially bizarre, like the recent gathering in Dallas where hundreds met in hopes of seeing John F. Kennedy Jr. alive. But from where I stand I don't see QAnon fading away—I see it getting stronger," Jadeja said.

The QAnon movement drew substantial national attention in the wake of the January 6 attack against the U.S. Capitol carried out by Trump supporters. Many in the crowd of hundreds of Trump loyalists openly promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory, waving flags and wearing clothing items promoting it.

As Jadeja pointed out, hundreds of QAnon followers gathered in Dallas, Texas in November—bizarrely believing that John F. Kennedy Jr. (the son of former President John F. Kennedy) would appear there. However, Kennedy Jr. died in a plane crash back in 1999.

Despite their fantastical beliefs, hundreds gathered in Dallas in mid-November and then dozens again gathered there later in the month. They believed that Kennedy Jr. would reappear in the Texas city and declare Trump to be the rightful president.

"I disagree with people who say that QAnon is fading away—I think its believers are growing as fast as the fandom of Game of Thrones when it came out. Their content might be banned from popular social media but I think they are still there, flourishing away from the eyes of polite society," Jadeja said.

"This worries me. I believe QAnon has a lot in common with doomsday cults and in the past, doomsday cults turned violent. I was not surprised when the FBI said that 'digital soldiers' could turn to violence, nor was I surprised by the storming of the Capitol on January 6. I think it's inevitable that more real-world violence will occur in the future," he added.

An FBI report released in mid-June warned of the possibility that some QAnon adherents could commit acts of violence. The report cautioned that some believers could "begin to believe they can no longer 'trust the plan' referenced in QAnon posts and they have an obligation to change from serving as 'digital soldiers' toward engaging in real-world violence."

Although Trump has never fully embraced the QAnon movement, he has spoken favorably of its believers. "I don't know much about the movement, other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate," Trump told reporters in April 2020 during a White House press conference.

In the wake of Trump's election loss, QAnon adherents have repeatedly rallied around a series of dates on which they believed the former president would be reinstated. Even as the dates have passed without Trump returning to the White House, many of the conspiracy theories have moved the goal post and set new deadlines. Some adherents also believe that Trump is still serving as the president, despite Biden's presence in the White House and on the world stage.

Newsweek reached out to Trump's press office for comment.

No comments: