France has launched a video campaign to dissuade potential jihadists from joining Islamist fighting groups in Syria and Iraq.
The campaign tries to counter aggressive recruitment by Islamist radicals who have lured hundreds of westerners using attractive clips and social media, Reuters reported Thursday.
In the fast-paced, two-minute government montage, an unnamed recruiter approaches a potential jihadist on Facebook noting his interest in the Syrian conflict and asking if he would like to join friends fighting “over there”.
It then shows a series of jihadist recruitment statements superimposed over footage of Islamist militants celebrating, which are then contradicted by statements of the “reality” laid over footage of executions, crucifixions, children suffering and women crying.
“They tell you: ‘Sacrifice yourself at our side and you’ll defend a noble cause’. In reality, you will discover hell on earth and will die alone, far from home,” the statements read.
The video was posted on a new website (www.stop-djihadisme.gouv.fr) featuring information for parents worried their children could join the fighting, including a toll-free number they can call to speak to indoctrination specialists.
The government-funded efforts follow similar US initiatives including a video and the #ThinkAgainTurnAway Twitter profile, which has more than 20,000 followers and regularly publishes stories against the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
They make up one aspect of a wider French campaign to thwart future attacks and counter jihadist ideology after 17 people and three Islamist attackers were killed in a series of attacks in early January.
The government estimates that some 1,200 people are involved in jihadist circles with several hundred having travelled to Syria and Iraq – more than have left from any other Western nation.
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