ABU DHABI, 26th July, 2018 (WAM) — This month marks the Sawab Centre’s third year of operations countering terrorism online, advocating for the values of tolerance and coexistence, rejecting violent extremism and sectarianism, and urging young people to be positive and make a difference in their communities.
The United Arab Emirates and the United States of America share common values and a desire to make the world a better place for future generations. This shared interest is reflected in several joint strategic projects, including the Sawab Center, a messaging hub that calls for peaceful coexistence and tolerance.
Since its inception in 2015, the Sawab Centre has been working in the social media and internet space to help amplify the wide range of moderate voices that are often drowned out amid the clamour of false extremist thought and propaganda. The Centre also targets its positive alternative messages in order to provide a counterpoint to the hatred and divisiveness of terrorist groups.
Over the last three years, the Centre has attracted more than four million followers to its social media platforms Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube through 28 proactive campaigns and hundreds of interactive real-time campaigns.
Many of Sawab’s campaigns aim to uncover violent extremists’ lies and pretensions which they use to plunder and exploit civilians who have suffered the worst consequences of terrorism. These proactive campaigns included the following hashtags: #DeludedFollowers, #DaeshStealsTheirChildhood, and #SourcesOfExtremism.
Other Sawab campaigns offer positive alternatives that promote encouragement and optimism while reinforcing the values of charity, humanity, and coexistence. These campaigns, which target extremists without expressly mentioning them by name, included: #NationalPride, #GivingDefinesUs, and #WeTweetForHer.
Through its diplomatic outreach, the Sawab Center also seeks to cooperate with like-minded public and private entities to exchange knowledge and best practices. Among these partnerships, the Sawab Centre recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the Republic of Kazakhstan during the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Sawab has also worked with the Al-Azhar Observatory for Combating Extremism on several joint campaigns, including #MercyToTheWorlds, a campaign which was first launched in 2015 and recurs every year which focused on the life and teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Grand Imam Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb, Sheikh of Al-Azhar, said, “The Sawab Centre’s awareness and educational campaigns play a vital role in supporting all efforts in spreading the true and moderate vision of Islam and countering radical and terrorist ideologies. Al-Azhar is committed to spreading the values of peace, mercy, and co-existence.”
The Sawab Centre also signed a MoU in May 2017 with the Assakina campaign within the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Da’wa and Guidance in Saudi Arabia.
The Ministries of Tolerance and the Interior of the UAE are involved in various initiatives with the Sawab Centre, as are the Hedayah Centre, the Muslim Council of Elders, GCC-Pol, the Riyadh-based Arab Bureau for Counter-Terrorism, the Ministry of Information and Communications of Kazakhstan, the foreign ministries of Egypt and Britain, and the five working groups of the Global Coalition Against Daesh.
The Centre also collaborates closely with social media companies on joint workshops to train talented youth to produce anti-extremist content emphasising tolerance and peaceful coexistence.