Abdullah X is a fictional animated character created by a former Islamist extremist who uses his personal experiences and insights to dismantle extremist narratives and discuss current events from the perspective of a young Muslim man living in the UK. By addressing difficult issues from a relatable character, the videos hope to bring a more nuanced perspective that encourages critical thinking and undermines extremist ideologies. Examples of topics discussed by Abdullah X include freedom of speech following the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the ideology of ISIS.
Abdullah X utilizes several different online platforms. The campaign has a dedicated website, but can also be found on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter where it engages with audiences directly. While all of the videos are animated, they utilize a mix of styles ranging from longer narrative videos to chat-show style videos that approach specific topics head-on. This mixture enables the campaign to appeal to different audiences and be more reactive, joining in on important conversations as they unfold. The campaign also includes a graphic novel introducing Abdullah X’s female counterpart, Muslimah X.
- Messenger: Credible messengers are a crucial part of reaching an audience and establishing trust. By creating a character that represented his audience, Abdullah X was able to connect with viewers and speak in a voice that was relatable. It also enabled the campaign to take a more conversational tone in addressing serious or challenging issues
- Content: Including a mix of medias makes a campaign more sustainable and creates more opportunities for engagement. Animated videos can be expensive and laborious to produce, which hindered the campaigns ability to react quickly to events. By introducing more immediate content like images and shorter video clips, the campaign became more agile.
- Audience: Abdullah X targeted a narrow, specific audience, which allowed it to better tailor its content.