May 31, 2017 3:16 pm
Updated: May 31, 2017 4:21 pm

‘Let’s bomb hatred with love’: Anti-terrorism Ramadan ad gets mixed response

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A new anti-terrorism ad from Kuwait-based telecom company, Zain, that urges a fictional suicide bomber to “bomb violence with mercy,” has left social media users divided.

The three-minute commercial, which has received over three million views in less than a week, shows the suicide bomber coming face-to-face with his potential victims, while a song that plays in the ad promotes peace over violence. It was released for the holy month of Ramadan.

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READ MORE: Reflecting on attacks around the world during holy month of Ramadan

Going through the scenes

Some of the victims portrayed in the ad are survivors of real attacks that have made international headlines over the last few years. In one scene, the bomber confronts a young boy who is meant to represent Omran Daqneesh — a young Syrian boy who was pulled from the rubble after an airstrike in Aleppo in 2016. In the scene, the young boy holds up a magazine with Daqneesh on the cover.

The commercial also shows survivors of other attacks, including Ibrahim Abdulsalam, who was injured in the Kuwait mosque bombing of 2015, and Nadia Al Alami, a bride who was caught in a bombing in Jordan in 2005.

As the community in the ad comes together to stop the bomber, the commercial ends with the line: “Let’s bomb extremism for a better life.”

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Social media divided

Some called the ad powerful.

Others, however, took issue with the ad and its message.

READ MORE: A lonely month for a Syrian refugee fasting in Winnipeg 

Mashable notes some users created a #ZainDistortsTheTruth hashtag on Twitter, and added it to tweets that expressed their displeasure with the fact that the company used survivors of terrorism to sell a mobile service.

Many were not happy with the portrayal of the young Syrian boy in particular.

Responsibility of terrorism

One of the ad’s critics was Jordan-based human rights worker Rawan Da’as. Talking to The New York Times, Da’as said she is tired of the expectation that Muslims have to “renounce terrorism.”

“I am not responsible when it comes to terrorism, and what I see from these ads is that they promote the idea that terrorism has to do with Islam in some way,” she said.

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She also questioned the company’s use of Daqneesh.

“They put Omran as if he suffered from terrorism, while he suffered from the regime. It is not nice that you take things out of context and say that little boys in Syria are suffering without talking about why they are suffering.”

Global News has reached out to Zain for comment.

arti.patel@globalnews.ca

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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