ABU DHABI // The Sawab Centre, a joint UAE-US initiative combating online propaganda by ISIL and other extremist groups and promoting positive alternatives, has announced the launch of a new anti-youth recruitment campaign on social media. Using the hashtag #DeludedFollowers, the four-day campaign will run until May 3 in Arabic and English on Sawab’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube sites.
Even as its territory in Iraq and Syria shrinks, ISIL continues to recruit youths and urges them to commit terrorist acts in their home countries. ISIL has made efforts to encourage youths in diverse locations, such as Germany, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, France, Indonesia, and Australia, to commit acts of brutality against civilians and fellow citizens, reported Wam, the state news agency.
ISIL agents are known to monitor children who visit extremist sites or radical chat rooms and to befriend them, before manipulating them into committing violent acts. ISIL operatives also target for radicalisation at-risk youths suffering from mental illness, living in broken homes, or who have criminal backgrounds.
The #DeludedFollowers campaign will expose the lies and falsehoods promoted by ISIL recruiters and address the underlying problems felt by vulnerable youth, including loneliness, social isolation, bullying, and boredom.
Sawab’s campaign will humanize the victims of ISIL attacks through highlighting the stories of parents, siblings, children, and other loved ones killed by ISIL. The campaign will also offer inspirational and motivational messages directed to at-risk youths to help them resist the deceptions and false promises of ISIL agents.
#DeludedFollowers is the Sawab Centre’s 17th proactive social media campaign and follows the highly successful January 2016 #DeludedFollowers campaign, which focused on the issue of foreign fighters and registered more than 163 million impressions on Twitter.
Other Sawab campaigns have focused on the terrorist group’s devastation of families, communities, and ancient civilizations, the importance of diversity to a well-functioning society, and the important contributions of women in preventing and resisting extremism and in advancing their societies.
Since its launch in July 2015, the Sawab Centre has encouraged governments, communities, and individuals to engage proactively to counteract online extremism. During this time, the centre has given voice to the millions of people around the world who oppose ISIL and support the centre’s efforts to expose the terrorist group’s brutality and criminal nature.