Mauritania: Lunch campaign against religious extremism

In Mauritania, an awareness campaign against religious extremism has just been launched in Nouakchott.

The Mauritanian government and civil society intend to popularize among young people messages that ban all forms of intolerance or extremism on the social networks increasingly used by the jihadist movement in the Sahel.

Before the attack on a barracks of the Mauritanian army in 2005 in Lemgheity in the extreme north that had killed 15 and 16 seriously wounded, Salafists and other jihadist message carriers were scouring the Mauritanian cities in search of new followers.

Today, no more question for them to act in the open.

The jihadist movement now uses social networks to infiltrate young people.

Especially in this month of Ramadan, moment chosen for this campaign.

“This period is strategic because it coincides with Ramadan,” says Moustapha Boumbaba, director general of youth of Mauritania.

Young people are surfing the net and communicating with each other. “[It is necessary] to facilitate communication between them in the fight against extremism, to send messages and preventive information.”

The campaign also relies on bloggers in civil society including Khadijetou Sidina president of Nejm association for the development and well-being of the needy.

“We are a group of bloggers,” she says.

“I am followed by 16,000 young people,” she added.

Jemila Ahmedou, a student in economics, is one of the targeted youths. “I’m quite often on social networks, but I pay attention to all the messages I receive even from people I know. These days, I received messages from the “I’m not extremist”  campaign that reminds us of the need to stay alert.”

“I’m not extremist,” the theme of the campaign challenges Fadel Brahim, another student met in cybercafés. “I am very present on the web. Publications with suspicious content are numerous. I was alerted by the bloggers’ current operation and immediately started to do the same to my friends.”

This campaign against religious radicalism comes one week after the impeachment of an imam by the government for pronouncing violent words in his sermons.

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