The IBBlog

New campaign seeks to stop the spread of disinformation on the virus and empower youth to share accurate COVID-19 information with communities.

New York, NY, Apr 14, 2020 -- Ideas Beyond Borders, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to education and empowerment initiatives in the Middle East, announced their latest campaign, "Stop the Spread", to combat disinformation among Arabic-speaking youth. This campaign dispels conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19 and provides accurate public health information from trusted sources. It launched in early March to their network of over 4.5 million MENA-region youth.

“Where I’m from in Iraq, if you get sick, you might feel uncomfortable telling others because you’ve been told only the guilty and sinful will get sick with COVID-19. You’re afraid of the social backlash, so you don’t get treatment, putting yourselves and others at risk. It’s horrific. Arabic-speaking youth need accurate information on COVID-19. IBB already combats disinformation via our translation program, so using our platform of millions to help stop the spread of these rumors seemed like a no-brainer,” says Ideas Beyond Borders’ Founder and Executive Director, Faisal Saeed Al Mutar.

Conspiracies on the virus have been liked and shared millions of times and include extremist and state-sponsored ideas such as: Jewish people created the virus to manipulate the market; the virus was created in a US laboratory by the CIA; and the virus is a scourge sent to punish the LGBT community and their supporters. To combat this misinformation, IBB is partnering with public health experts and local social influencers to publish and ‘make viral’ more than 30 videos, 220 articles, and 40 infographics in Arabic on COVID-19. IBB is scaling this initiative rapidly in the next hypercritical 90 days, and is urgently seeking funding and additional partners.

About Ideas Beyond Borders

A 501(c)3 organization dedicated to fostering an Enlightened Middle East

Ideas Beyond Borders champions a positive alternative to the extremism, authoritarianism, censorship, and violence that plagues the Middle East. We share, translate, and promote ideas that foster critical thinking, civil and human rights, science, pluralism, and more. IBB wants to ultimately bring to life a modern, pluralistic Middle East, led by the people of the region.

Additional Resources

COVID-19 Disinformation Briefing No. 1 | March 27th, 2020 | ISD

Coronavirus: the student translators battling Middle East misinformation | April 29th, 2020 | The National

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This month, IBB is celebrating women across Persia, the Middle East, and North Africa that are bravely sharing their stories about life under extremist rule in the hopes of making their region safer, better, and more inclusive and diverse for everyone. Check out their stories and articles below. 


I Was an Afghan Child Bride

"Overnight, I was turned from 14 to 19."


LAYLA (Not Pictured)

An ISIS Survivor That Holds Onto the Names of Her Captors

"A Yazidi woman escaped ISIS in Syria and keeps in her purse the names of the fighters who enslaved and assaulted her."


The Brave Women Working to De-mine Post-ISIS Territories

Women After War: We Want to Rebuild Our Lives

"Two years after ISIL ceded territory in Iraq, these courageous women are clearing mines on their journey back home."


These women are empowering others who have suffered sexual abuse and violence, devastating loss, and violent horror at the hands of extremist groups, and are using their voices to uplift a region.

Young adults in our target areas have similar stories to the brave women you've read about; they have grown up under ISIS, Al-Qaeda, or similar regimes and are accustomed to acts of violence, threats, and aggression faced by those under extremist rule. Information on human rights, women's rights, and democratic movements and institutions is inaccessible and often wholly unavailable due to active censorship and oppression. Unlocking access to these ideas and making them available for discussion is a prerequisite to building equality and lasting peace in the region.

We've launched partnerships with local universities to create on-the-ground programs to rebuild Post-ISIS territories. These programs empower families and young adults devastated in the aftermath of war and terrorism. At each partner university, we're enrolling 30 students a year into our Bayt Al Hikma 2.0 translation program to translate, discuss, and spread the values of pluralism and enlightenment. In exchange for their efforts, program participants receive a small stipend for the school year, the mentorship of a program coordinator, help with resumes and cover letters for economic empowerment, and official certification as a translator for our program.

We aim for equal representation of genders in our university program participants, and are eager to help young women work towards a better, brighter future for their region.

Donate today and help Ideas Beyond Borders empower young women across the Middle East.

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In the mood for some levity? Check out these translation mishaps pulled from across the web.

#translationmatters -- and Ideas Beyond Borders knows it! We're a 501(c)3 founded by an Iraqi refugee dedicated to translating banned, controversial materials into Arabic such as works on women's rights and reproductive health, human rights, humanism and evolution. Ideas Beyond Borders has touched the lives of millions of Arabic-speakers, empowered hundreds of translators, distributed 12 books and 1600+ articles (including western bestsellers like Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now!), and is igniting a movement of youth dedicated to elevating the region and empowering its people with its flagship translation program.

Check out these memes and see what happens when translation doesn't quite go as planned!


Evil Saloon, anyone? Only if you want a wicked haircut!


All of these flavors are wild, TBH


Someone call Brick! He loves lamp.




Okay, someone's salty.


Hopefully you'd have to eat a lot of it before the effects could kick in.


Enticing, but(t)...


Thanks a lot for reminding us!!


Where could this possibly lead.


Does this count as cannibalism?

Bonus for Arabic Speakers:

Did he try the meatballs?

Have your own translation fails you want to share? Share and tag us on our Facebook page!

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