Ramadan 2017: Anti-jihadi advert preaching ‘love not terror’ goes viral in Middle East

Three-minute song from telecommunications company praised for capturing true spirit of Islam but attracts some criticism for featuring footage and victims of extremist attacks 

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The Independent Online

An online advertisement depicting people from all walks of life joining forces to dissuade a jihadist from carrying out a suicide bombing has been viewed millions of times since it was uploaded at the beginning of Ramadan

In the musical video, a would-be suicide bomber is shown wiring up an explosive vest in a dingy workshop while children study at school, an elderly man plays with his grandchild and a bride and groom prepare for their wedding.

“I will tell God everything,” a child’s voice says while he prepare the bomb. “That you've filled the cemeteries with our children and emptied our school desks.” 

The bomber boards a bus where the passengers are already covered in debris and blood and confront him with sung messages to stop his attack. 

“The forgiving and forbearing who hurts not those who hurt him,” a little boy mocked up to look like Omran Daqneesh, Aleppo’s ‘boy in the orange ambulance seat’, sings.

Emirati pop star Hussain al-Jassmi then picks up the main refrain, imploring viewers to “bomb violence with mercy” as victims of real-life Isis and al-Qaeda attacks across the Gulf region stream across the screen. 

The three-minute long video was posted on Friday by Zain, a Kuwaiti telecommunications company which operates across the Middle East.

”We will encounter their hatred with songs of love," a message says before the video fades to black, “From now until happiness.”

At the time of writing the YouTube version has been viewed 2.7m times and the ad has been shared hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook.

Ramadan 2017: All you need to know

The Ramadan message from Zain has been widely praised as celebrating the true nature of Islam during the holy month of Ramadan, in which Muslims fast during daylight hours. The four weeks of abstention from eating, drinking and smoking is supposed to bring those fasting closer to God. 

In recent years the holy month has also become a time of increased attacks by jihadi extremists; Isis has claimed three suicide bombings since fasting officially began on Saturday. 

The advert has encountered some criticism from viewers who accused it of exploiting the terror victims featured and footage of gruesome recent attacks for commercial purposes.