The bloodthirsty killers of Islamic State are trying to ‘hijack’ the Arab world and ‘drag us back to the Dark Ages’ through social media, Queen Rania of Jordan believes.
During a powerful address to the Abu Dhabi Media Summit in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the 44-year-old monarch spoke out against the horror videos of decapitated prisoners being promoted by ISIS on Twitter and Facebook.
'A minority of irreligious extremists is using social media to rewrite our narrative and hijack our identity,' Queen Rania said. 'That's what ISIS is doing to the Arab world and all of us'.
Referring specifically to the videos of beheadings, the Queen said: 'These images don't represent me anymore than they represent you.
'They’re alien and abhorrent to the vast majority of Arabs – Muslims and Christians. And they should make every Arab across this region seethe.
'Because they're an attack on our values as a people and on our collective story. This is their version of the Arab world’s story, their plot, their narrative, their heroes, and the rest of the world is listening and watching.'
Queen Rania also said the 'silence' of moderate Arabs made them complicit in ISIS' success, adding: ‘At the heart of the assault is an ideology.‘And if you think you can defeat an ideology with a bullet, think of what happened when Osama Bin Laden was killed.'
Queen Rania explained: ‘Sure he died, but his legacy is an even stronger, more twisted extremist movement.’
'We must create a new narrative and broadcast it to the world. Because if we don’t decide what our identity is and what our legacy will be, the extremists will do it for us.'
Queen Rania urged people in the region to post their own positive 'profile picture of our Arab world' on social media sites.
She also highlighted education and job creation as being the key to thwarting the extremists.
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now controls large swathes of those two countries as Britain and the US leads a coalition of countries carrying out airstrikes to slow the terrorist advance.
Hundreds of photos and videos have been posted on social media, showing the atrocities committed by the terrorist group, including mass executions, crucifixions and the beheadings of kidnapped British and American journalists and aid workers.
Queen Rania concluded: ‘We either develop our region, or we let others dismantle it – find solutions to the challenges, or watch the challenges avalanche; harness the tools to drive the Arab world forward in the 21st century, or let others use those tools to drag us back to the Dark Ages.’
More than 600 people are attending the 5th edition of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit to discuss the future of the media in the Arab world and beyond.