The Sawab Centre, a bilateral Emirati-American initiative to counter online extremist propaganda and promote positive alternatives, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, OIC, have announced a new cooperative agreement to mutually enrich each organization's capabilities and to share information and best practices.

The agreement, in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, formalizes the mutual interaction and strengthens the existing relationship between the Sawab Centre and the OIC at the strategic and working levels. Under the MoU, the parties will exchange knowledge, data, assessments and analyses to more effectively combat extremist ideologies. Other avenues of cooperation under the MoU include undertaking joint studies, collaborating on joint projects and campaigns, and organizing joint workshops and training sessions.

The OIC the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents. In the name of unity among Muslims and comity with other faiths, the OIC seeks to promote the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of international peace and harmony among the various people of the world.

The Sawab Centre was launched in July 2015 by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the US Department of State to combat Daesh and other extremists' online presence and propaganda and to promote a culture of peace and tolerance. Now in its third year of operations, the Centre has succeeded in attracting more than five million followers to its Arabic, English and French-language social media platforms, in the aggregate.

To amplify the wide range of moderate voices that are often drowned out amid the clamor of extremist propaganda, Sawab has conducted over 30 proactive campaigns and hundreds of interactive real-time campaigns against the purveyors of extremism, including Daesh. The Sawab Centre aims to counter online terrorist propaganda, through advocating for the values of tolerance and coexistence, rejecting violent extremism and sectarianism, and urging people, especially the youth, to make a positive difference in their communities.

Through its diplomatic outreach, the Sawab Centre has also entered into similar cooperative agreements and arrangements with other like-minded governments, including an MOU with the Republic of Kazakhstan during the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in July 2018.

The Sawab Centre also signed a Memorandum of Understanding in May 2017 with the Assakina campaign within the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Da'wa and Guidance in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, Sawab frequently collaborates with its counterparts and has launched several joint social media campaigns. In coordination with the Al-Azhar Observatory for Combating Extremism since 2015, the Centre has launched an annual #MercyToTheWorlds campaign that focuses on the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, PBUH.

The Sawab Centre works directly with the UAE Ministries of Tolerance and the Interior, the Hedayah Centre, the UAE Muslim Council of Elders, GCC-Pol, the Arab Bureau for Countering Terrorism, the foreign ministries of Egypt and Britain, and the Global Coalition Against Daesh on various initiatives. It also collaborates closely with social media companies including Twitter, Facebook and Google to shut down extremist accounts and on joint workshops that train youth to create innovative content emphasizing the values of tolerance and peaceful coexistence.

Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs