Queen Rania
Photo: AP
Jordan's queen launches YouTube channel to battle stereotypes
Rania aims to show world 'personal side' of Middle Eastern Arab countries, battle international Muslim stereotypes like those shown in new anti-Muslim Dutch film

Jordan's media savvy Queen Rania has launched a YouTube channel calling on young people to engage in a global dialogue to dismantle stereotypes of the Muslims and Arab world, according to a press statement from the Royal Palace.


Rania has vowed to work to break down such preconceptions and has said she wants people to "know the real Arab world... unedited, unscripted and unfiltered."


The YouTube channel invites viewers to give their opinions of the Middle East and talk about stereotyped images they may have of Arabs and Muslims.


In the Palace statement, Rania was quoted as saying that she wanted the young world "to see the personal side of my region, to know the places and faces and rituals and culture that shape the part of the world I call home."


Although traditionally a country of conservative repute, Jordan is also touched with modernity. YouTube is very popular among Jordanian youth, who make up more than half of the country's nearly six million strong population. Jordan also boasts easy access to internet, unlike in some other places in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Syria.


A wonderful world

"In a world where it's so easy to connect to one another, we still remain very much disconnected," Rania said on her web site of the YouTube launch. "There's a whole world of wonder out there that we cannot appreciate with stereotypes."


The Palestinian-born Rania, who married Jordan's King Abdullah in 1993, is a big promoter of education and micro-credit financing, and strives to lift Jordan out of poverty. She is an advocate for the protection of mothers and children against family abuse and promotes women's rights.


Along with Abdullah, she spearheaded a campaign to introduce tougher laws that would impose harsher punishment on men who kill female members of the family for disobeying the will of the family male elders; the so-called honor killings.


Rania's YouTube launch comes as Muslim sentiments worldwide have been stirred by the Internet release of the film, Fitna, or 'Ordeal' in Arabic, made by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, which is perceived as insulting to Islam and the Koran.


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