- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A new kind of advertising has hit Mideast TV. The state-of-the-art special effects and the graphic details of the $1 million ad reproduce the horrific anatomy of a suicide bombing. The ad, seen here, ends with the words “Terrorism has no religion.”

According to a press release, the ad was funded by “independent, non-governmental scholars, business people and activists living in Iraq and abroad.” But conspiracy theorists suspect otherwise.

If the campaign is tied to the U.S. propaganda effort, the ad’s impact will be minimal, if it doesn’t backfire altogether. It will be considered part of PR campaigns, including the Arabic-language, U.S.-financed Radio Sawa and Al-Hurra TV. These campaigns have not fully succeeded in reaching the Arab audience in the Middle East. There was also another controversial U.S. program that paid Iraqi newspapers for stories favorable to coalition forces.

One 30-second ad is not enough to explore the complex reasons behind terrorism. The Arab audience sees real graphic images of killings in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine on a daily basis. Lawrence Pintak, director of the Adham Center for Electronic Journalism at the American University in Cairo, told AP, “When this kind of advertisement is sandwiched between footage of Lebanon and Iraq, it’s going to fall on deaf ears.”

Arabs don’t like to be told how to think or how to act. The change has to

come from within.

Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told AP the U.S. shouldn’t use religion to fight terrorism. “That is something for Muslims to do.”

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