CAIRO - 1 June 2017: Kuwaiti telecom company Zain released a television ad in the form of a song on the first day of Ramadan to combat terrorism. In less than 5 days it has reached over 3 million views on Youtube. Sanoghany Hoban (With Love we will Sing) is the name of the song by Emirati megastar Hussain Al-Jassmi.
The first scene of the ad is of a terrorist preparing a suicide vest, while four kids are playing football, a little girl is sitting on her school desk in the class, a grandfather is pampering his grandson, and a bride and groom is getting ready for their wedding.
As the suicide bomber reaches his destination, he finds himself challenged by his victims who are covered in mud and blood.
"I will tell God everything." A child’s voice says, echoing the words spoken by a real Syrian child a few years ago before he died. "That you have filled the graves with children and emptied our school desks, that you have sparked turmoil and darkened our streets, that you have lied,’’ the child continues.
The next scene is of the terrorist getting inside a bus saying, ‘’there is no God but Allah.’’ His inherent belief that his actions are in service of Allah reflects the distortion of Islamic values by radical groups who brainwash their followers into believing that murdering others and carrying out bombings will bring them closer to God and secure them a place in the afterlife.
‘’You come offering death, while God is the creator of life,’’ quoted one of the victims holding his baby. The terrorist continues firmly, ‘’I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God,’’ to which a child whose face is covered with blood replies, ‘’Prophet Muhammed is forgiving and patient. He never hurt even those who hurt him.’’ As the terrorist continues to recite that God is greater, the groom responds by saying, ‘’Yes God is greater than those who hide what they didn’t show.’’
A teacher along with her students add, ‘God is greater than those who obey without contemplation.’’ In this part of the song all the victims replied to the terrorist and rebutted all his excuses.
Later Al-Jassmy appears smiling addressing his song to the terrorist, with the victims behind him, chanting in a chorus, ‘’Worship God with love not by scaring others, be tender not tough.’’ He then extends his hand to the terrorist to lift him up and advised him with tolerance replying, ‘’disagree with your enemy peacefully not by war, convince others by leniency not by force.’’
In the background of this scene the famous Quranic verse 2:256 appears, which says "there is no compulsion in religion.”
‘Let's bomb violence with mercy,
Let's bomb delusion with the truth,
Let's bomb hatred with love,
Let's bomb extremism for a better life.
"Whenever they bomb with hatred, we will sing with love," bold lyrics written by the talented Heba Mishari Hamada, and composed by Bashar al-Shatti.
Director Samir Aboud used real-life witnesses who survived terrorist attacks, to give a strong testimony of what terrorism is doing in the world today. Examples of victims include the Syrian child Imran Ibrahim Abdul Salam who survived the bombing of a mosque in Kuwait, Nadia Alami, the bride whose wedding was targeted by terrorists in Amman, Haidar Naama who lost his son in the Karrada bombing in Iraq.
The ad was met with wide acclaim for promoting peace and refuting misconceptions about Islam. Some people have accused the Zain Company of exploiting terrorism to promote their products.
This ad also raised many questions. Can we sing when we are sad? How can we use song to fight extremism? The ad also gave answers to these questions.
Some underestimate the ability of art to counter terrorism, because they do not know that art is one of the deadliest weapons of destructive thought. A terrorist hates art, hates the beautiful melody, the sincere word and the pure, expressive image.
He knows very well that the camera and videos have a powerful magic that is capable of influencing the viewers. The Islamic State (IS) terrorist group knows well this fact that is why they use camera to shoot all the scenes of violence and murder they had committed, in order to terrorize people, instil fear in them, to live in a state of mental anaesthesia capable of paralyzing their movement and their lives.
It is very important for every artist to know how to use his weapon to participate in the fight against terrorism. Al-Jassmi's weapon was his voice that penetrates audiences’ hearts. We will sing with him on behalf of all victims of terrorism in Egypt, Manchester, and everywhere, we will always sing with love for the sake of love.