The French government unveiled a short video and web site on Wednesday designed to dissuade potential jihadists from joining Islamist fighting groups in Syria and Iraq, where thousands of French Muslims have fought.
In the fast-paced 2-minute montage, an unnamed recruiter approaches a potential jihadist on Facebook noting his interest in the Syrian conflict and asking if he would like to join friends fighting “over there”.
It then shows a series of jihadist recruitment statements superimposed over footage of Islamic fighters celebrating, which are then contradicted by statements of the “reality” laid over footage of executions, crucifixions, children suffering and women crying.
“They tell you: ‘Sacrifice yourself at our side and you’ll defend a noble cause’. In reality, you will discover hell on earth and will die alone, far from home,” the statements read.
The video was posted on a new web site (www.stop-djihadisme.gouv.fr) featuring information for parents worried their children could join the fighting, including a toll-free number they can call to speak to indoctrination specialists.
The government-funded efforts make up one aspect of a wider French campaign to thwart future attacks and counter jihadist ideology after 17 people and three attackers were killed in a series of attacks in early January.
The government estimates that some 1,200 people are involved in jihadist circles with several hundred having traveled to Syria and Iraq – more than have left from any other Western nation.
A pilot program to stop young people from leaving to Syria was launched late last year.
The government has also charged a rights group representing the victims of terror attacks to prevent jihadist recruitment in prisons.