Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Richard Stengel, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, launched the Sawab Center (صواب) in Abu Dhabi today, which aims to counter the online messaging, propaganda and recruitment by the terrorist organization known as Daesh.
The Sawab Center is a joint online engagement initiative, in support of the Global Coalition Against Daesh. The word Sawab in Arabic signifies "doing the right thing" or being on the "right path". Sawab seeks to do just that by giving a voice to the millions of Muslim and others around the world that stand united against the terrorism and falsehood propagated by Daesh.
To do so, the Sawab Center will use online communication and social media tools to put things in the right perspective and to amplify those moderate voices that regularly get drowned out by the noise of the extremists. Through its online engagement, the Sawab Center will counter the false claims and religious misinterpretations that are being propagated by Daesh and will seek to engage with those vulnerable online communities that are an easy prey for Daesh recruiters.
Co-founded by the United Arab Emirates and the United States, the Sawab Center will work with Governments in the region and around the world, including from the 63-country Coalition that is confronting Daesh. The Sawab Center will also work with religious leaders, organisations, businesses, and youth in order to amplify their voices, challenge Daesh’s doctrine of hate and intolerance, and to highlight and demonstrate the true values and diversity of Islam.
The Sawab Center builds on and links into the various other Counter-Extremism initiatives that have been initiated in the UAE in recent years, including the Hedayah Center to Counter Violent Extremism and the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies. These initiatives demonstrate the UAE’s strong and enduring commitment to a moderate and tolerant society that is deeply rooted in the UAE’s history and traditions, where extremism has no place and no future.
On the occasion of the launch, Dr. Anwar Gargash noted that "by tackling the problem of online radicalization, the Sawab Center will make an important contribution to the stability and security of the region and will make a start in reclaiming the online space from the extremists." US Under Secretary Richard Stengel added that "the US truly appreciates its partnership with the UAE when it comes to countering violent extremism." Dr. Anwar Gargash further underlined that "by creating the Sawab Center, we are sending a clear message to Daesh and other extremists that moderate Muslims everywhere reject their hateful ideology and sensational brutality and are united with their partners around the world in support of a stable and prosperous Middle East that is free from the scourge of extremism."