Saudi prince launches online Muslim awareness campaign

The campaign sends a direct message to citizens that Saudi Arabia is prepared to combat terrorism

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The governor of Qassim region, Faisal bin Mishaal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, launched on Wednesday (Sept. 2) the English version of an online campaign aimed at raising awareness about terrorism in the country, and deterring young men from joining organizations that are banned in the oil rich state.

The name of the campaign translated from Arabic is: “Together Against Terrorism.”

The Arabic-language version of the campaign was launched in May, sending a direct message to citizens that Saudi Arabia was prepared to combat terrorism in the country.

“I would like to say for the whole of the world, the Islam, it is not with terrorists and we are against terrorists and we would like to explain our feeling for the others that we are away and far away to support terrorist or help them or this kind of things,” the governor said.

“I would like to say for the whole of the world, that Islam is not with the terrorists… We are against terrorists and we would like to… explain our feeling for others that we do not support terrorists or help them or their activities,” said Prince Faisal.

The campaign recognizes the importance of social media in recruiting young people to join extremist organizations.

Many foreign-nationals teaching at Qassim University attended the launch and view the campaign as a positive step.

“A lot of the western world looks at Saudi Arabia as the center of Islam. It is where Islam came from. And for the Prince to publicly make a speech such as today makes me happy as an individual and as a Muslim because it shows that you know what? That this behavior was never really Islam to begin with. And these people [militants] are just doing what they're doing out of evil wrongdoings on their part. So thank God I feel very proud,'' said Faisal Hassan, a UK-national who teaches at the local university.

“Canadians are very confused about what is happening in the Middle East and don’t really understand how the Saudi’s feel about terrorism. This is a very positive first step and can only create more dialogue and of course it will clarify how the Saudi’s feel about things in the minds of Canadians. So we are very happy with this initiative,” said a Canadian man teaching at Qassim University.

In July Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry announced that it had arrested 431 people suspected of belonging to ISIS cells.

The announcement came after a car bomb exploded at a checkpoint near the kingdom’s highest security prison, killing the driver and wounding two security officials in an attack claimed by ISIS.

A string of deadly attacks carried out by followers of the ultra-hardline militant group based in Iraq and Syria have fuelled concerns about a growing threat of militancy in the world’s top oil exporter.