ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, July 9 (UPI) -- The United States and the United Arab Emirates launched a joint Middle East-based social media center to counter propaganda efforts by the Islamic State extremist group.
The Sawab Center will use "direct online engagement" to counter IS ideology and present "moderate and tolerant voices,"the State Department said. Based in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, the center issued a message on Twitter and YouTube saying the IS is spreading hate, fear and intolerance.
Richard Stengel, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, said the goal of the project is to dissuade people from joining the IS and to counter the IS social-media blitzes.
"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. "If somebody is debating whether to go, tell them that the mythology of what Daesh (the IS) 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."
The Arabic word "sawab" means right or correct as in "the right path."