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France Launches New Anti-Jihad Campaign Featuring Messages From Mourning Family Members of People Who Fled to Join Terrorism Abroad


"We are not the parents of a terrorist. We are victims."

Supporters of the Islamic State carry the terror group's flag. (AP Photo)

With more than 500 people having fled France to join the Islamic State and other extremist groups, the European country is taking action to try and dissuade additional young people from leaving to join terrorists abroad

The government hopes that a new ad campaign featuring mourning families — part of the Stop Djihadisme (Stop Jihadism) effort, a counter-jihad website created by France’s Interior Ministry earlier this year — will be effective at helping stem the tide.

The campaign, which is set to air on French television over the next month, highlights four parents' hurt and pain after their children fled France to join extremists in Iraq and Syria, the AP reported.

"We are not the parents of a terrorist. We are victims," a father named Baptiste, whose 17-year-old daughter left for Syria, tells the camera in one of the campaign clips.

See one of the videos (in French) below:

The effort comes as France has seen more individuals leave to join extremists than any other country in Western Europe, and it comes as the country has taken numerous steps over the past 10 months to try and combat the continued problem.

France has changed policies to allow families to more easily flag their children to law enforcement, to place a hold on travel documents and setup a hotline for parents to call if they suspect their children of wrongdoing, according to the AP.

As TheBlaze previously reported, just three weeks after radical Islamic terrorists attacked satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in January over its mocking cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and waged deadly assaults on other locations in Paris, France, the French government released a website and video aimed at countering extremism, discouraging young people from joining Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.

A graphic, two-minute clip was published by Stop Djihadisme at the time attempted to dismiss the promises that terrorists are making to individuals interested in joining jihadist groups, with the government telling French citizens that they will “discover hell on earth” and “die alone” if they join militants.

From injured and scared children to crucifixions and executions, footage present in the video shows the horrors that are unfolding at the hands of Islamic State militants — troubling images that the French government hopes will serve as powerful deterrents for those considering heading to the battlefield, the New York Times reported at the time.

The video served as a fact-check of sorts, offering rebuttals to claims made by Islamic State terror recruits. CNN International offered up a translation of the three Islamic state arguments that the French government seeks to debunk in the video:

  • They tell you: “Sacrifice yourself with us, you will defend a just cause.” In reality: You will discover hell on earth and die alone, away from home.
  • They tell you: “Come start a family with one of our heroes.” In reality: You will raise your children in war and terror.
  • They tell you: “Join us and come help Syrian children.” In reality: You will be an accomplice in the massacre of civilians.

Watch the clip below (caution: disturbing themes and extreme violence):

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