Jordan’s Queen Rania has a new mission: to reclaim Islam from those carrying out atrocities in its name.
Speaking during a question-and-answer session at the Women in the World summit in London Thursday, she addressed the threat of those who call themselves Islamic State.
“This is a war between moderates of all religions against the extremists,” said the royal mom of four, 45. “They want to put the west against Islam, Islam against the rest of the world.”
They do so through a sophisticated use of social media – but unlike governments, they aren t “constrained by fact or truth or decency,” she said.
“They are very savvy at using social media and exploiting vulnerability. They know how to jump in, they know how to feed people false hope, give people the illusion of hope. We need to counter with real hope, especially when we are dealing with refugees.”
Rania added: “Their message is regressive and medieval, but – it’s an oxymoron – their approach is very on trend and up to date.
“They are using video much more than text, because they are trying to attract the millennials. They will hijack trending hashtags on Twitter for example. Groups like that have changed the landscape of warfare and it’s unfamiliar terrain for many governments.
“We need to change the way we are doing things, we need to partner with private sector, with young people and try to amplify the credible voices and expose these people for what they are. We can’t let them be the owners of our story and reclaim our religion and speak for ourselves and not let anyone else speak for us.”
In Jordan, she has seen what the result of five years of chaos and crisis in neighboring Syria has brought, particularly in the current refugee crisis. Her country has 1.4 million Syrians, amounting to about 20 percent of the population.
Rania spoke of her pride in the compassion Jordanians have shown but said the situation is “unsustainable.”
“As a mother, I understand how important it is for children to have the reassurance, the routine and the ritual. When I think of these children, who in their short life span have seen nothing but conflict and crises . . . I wonder about the psychological scars afflicting this generation and what is that going to mean in the long term.”
She added of the refugees of all ages, “They are not extremists, in fact they are running away from extremists. If anybody wants a world free of extremism it is those people. Nobody chose to be a refugee. A refugee is what you become when you run out of choices, when you have nothing else.”
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