‘Bomb violence with mercy’: anti-terror ad has gone viral in the Middle East during the month of Ramadan. The video by Kuwaiti telecoms firm Zain aired at the end of lsast month for Ramadan has divided opinion with its depiction of victims confronting a bomber. In Muslim countries advertisers the spend a large part of their annual budget during Ramadan.
The three-minute video, featuring Emirati pop star Hussain al-Jassmi has registered nearly six million views on Zain’s YouTube page.
The controversial video shows real life footage from terror attacks and features real people who have been affected by attacks and ends on a positive note with footage of a happy wedding and cheerful children dressed in white.
“We will encounter their hatred with songs of love,” concludes a caption superimposed on a black background.
The ad has been met with both a positive and negative response. Some people are praising it for showcasing yet again that Muslims do not support the violence often perpetrated in the name of Islam.
— سلطان سعود القاسمي (@SultanAlQassemi) May 28, 2017
The ad has been criticised for using terrorism imagery to sell products, and many argue that the ad does not explore the deeper causes of violence in the Middle East.
The ad also features an actor playing the young Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh, who was injured in an airstrike in Aleppo, Syria. Many commentators have condemned its use of an actor to play Omran, pointing out that the boy was not wounded by terrorism but by an airstrike by the regime of Bashar al-Assad. It is also argued that the majority of victims of violence in Syria had suffered at the hands of the regime, rather than jihadis.
“The child Omran is a victim of Assad’s barrel bombs and not the terrorism of Daesh,” wrote Kutaiba Yassin, a Syrian writer, using a synonym for Islamic State. “Part of justice for any victim is to expose his killer. Zain’s ad distorts the truth.”