Re: Entire populations: State sponsored?
Need it be a nation state, though? I mean, really?
Governments are not the only entities with that kind of money anymore. There are corporations out there with spending powers that would put them safely on the World stage.
Is it really that great a leap to imagine a corporation spotting a strong enough correlation to make it worth targetting an entire ethnic group, if they caught a faint whiff of money in it? If you run the numbers, and discover that a certain group of people have a certain habit in common -- not universally, but sufficiently more so than the general population to be worthwhile -- and there is a way for you to get some of that action, wouldn't you? A corporation would justify it by saying not to do so would be a disservice to their shareholders. (Never mind the disservice they were doing to victims of the very racism being promoted by playing to the stereotype.)
Of course, if that ethnic group happens to be anything besides "European Agnostics", it is going to require extraordinary sensitivity even to report the story without inflaming tensions. The far right will claim that one particular stereotype happening to line up with observed reality in some cases proves them correct, while members of the minority in question will be understandably angry.
Actually, I can see the attraction in believing it to be a nation state responsible for this after all. Much less nasty stuff to think about .....