Ahmadiyya Muslims teach equality of all mankind, rejection of the concept of violent jihad and adherence to the laws of the society in which you reside. At the end of April, this message was brought to Leicester. Leaders of the different faith communities of Leicester were invited to witness the unveiling of the slogan ‘Loyalty, Freedom and Peace’ on buses which will be serving the Leicester area. The buses will also bear the campaign’s website: loveforallhatredfornone.org
This nationwide campaign started earlier this year to promote peace and challenge the growing Islamophobia in the UK.
For at least two weeks people will be able to see the slogan on 25 to 30 buses. Also leaflets about Ahmadiyyah Muslims and their beliefs will be distributed to households in the local area.
Dr Habib Akram is the President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association in Leicester. When the buses were unveiled today, he spoke at the unveiling about how the Ahmadiyya Muslim community want to challenge the view of Muslims as “extremists”.
He said, “There are a lot of people who hold a negative view of Islam because of the portrayal in the media. We hope we can remove fear and prejudice in some people”.
He also spoke about the concept of jihad, saying, “The bloodless jihad of the pen is a better way of defending Islam than the jihad of the sword”.
He said that the media’s portrayal of Muslims as violent “makes the heart of every Muslim in the UK and the world sink”.
Pukaar News spoke to Imam Khadim, an Imam at an Ahmadiyya mosque in Leicester. He said, “It started in London and now it’s our turn to convey the message of Islam to the world. We want to achieve peace and harmony within society. We are law abiding citizens and we think everyone should be law abiding”.
Pukaar News also spoke to Saleem Ahmed, External Affairs Secretary for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association in Leicester. He said, “We want to deflect some of the bad news that is in the media generally such as terrorism and suicide bombing. We want to spread the true Islamic teachings. Islam means peace.”
One of the most important aspects of this campaign is the response from the wider community of Leicester. Pukaar News asked Resham Singh Sandhu, High Sheriff of Leicestershire, how he thought people of other faiths would react to this campaign. He said, “Non-Muslims will think Ahmadiyya Muslims have taken this initiative, hopefully they will join in with this campaign”.
As well as campaigning for peace and awareness about Islam, Ahmadiyya Muslims are committed to raising money for charity. In Leicester last year the youth of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association raised £180 000 for charities including the NSPCC. This year they hope to raise a quarter of a million.
The question that remains is whether 25 to 30 buses and leaflets will really make a difference to the way people think about Islam. Dr Habib Akram said, “If it creates the curiosity in one person to go on the website and one iota of prejudice is removed, the campaign has been successful”.
The next stage for the campaign is to roll it out to other parts of the UK.
For more information, please visit the website: loveforallhatredfornone.org