Voice of America on July 9, 2015, reported that the United States and United Arab Emirates launched a center to counter the Islamic State using social media to confront the militants’ ideology and present “moderate and tolerant voices from across the region.” Excerpts below:
The Sawab Center is based in Abu Dhabi. The project issued messages on Twitter and posted a YouTube video saying the militants were twisting Islam to spread hate, fear and intolerance.
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel said that the goal is to both use information to dissuade people from joining the Islamic State and to “take offline” those who are using social media to try to convert new recruits.
“One of the ideas of the Sawab Center and what we do in terms of messaging ourselves from Washington is to try to stem the flow of foreign fighters,” Stengel said. “To, if somebody is debating whether to go, tell them that the mythology of what Daesh [Islamic State] is creating is false, you know, the caliphate isn’t a paradise — there’s no plumbing, there’s no electricity, there’s no Internet access.”
Stengel also said the coalition, which includes more than 60 nations, is having success, and that having a common enemy has made for a closer relationship between the United States and the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
“I think it’s not realistic to say that any form of terrorism will go away, or that any manifestation of Daesh or ISIL will go away, but as an acute threat, as an existential threat, as an expanding threat, that will be reversed and it already is being reversed,” he said.
Stengel acknowledged that “nobody is immune” to the threat posed by the Islamic State…