NEWS FEATURE: Cambs Muslim community launches peace campaign

AS British troops go on the offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan, a Cambridgeshire Muslim community has launched an offensive of its own – a peace campaign. Its message of Love for All, Hatred for None can be found on posters on the sides of bu

AS British troops go on the offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan, a Cambridgeshire Muslim community has launched an offensive of its own - a peace campaign.

Its message of 'Love for All, Hatred for None' can be found on posters on the sides of buses travelling across the county and is designed to let people know about 'the real Islam'.

The campaign will also include a seminar on 'Islam, a Peaceful Religion' on Saturday (February 20) at the Victory Hall in Somersham.

The initiative is being organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslims with Mohammad Fawad Khokhar, a father-of-three from Eaton Socon, taking a leading role in Huntingdonshire.

The Ahmadiyya Muslims, one of Britain's oldest established Muslim communities, said the campaign aims to reassert the Islamic principles of peace and to counter extremists who hijack the faith.

The campaign was launched on Monday with advertisements on 20 buses.

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Mr Khokhar told The Hunts Post: "Only a fraction of a percentage of Muslims give any support at all to extremist views but the media puts out the perception that this is all of us.

"We want to clear up the misconception about Islam being put out by the western media. People are not getting the right picture. This message of peace is an integral part of Islam."

Last month, posters were carried on 200 buses in London.

Mr Khokhar moved with his wife, Samina, and their children to Eaton Socon from the United Arab Emirates nine months ago and they both work for Tillomed Laboratories in St Neots, she as a pharmacist and he works in IT.

He said the family had suffered no prejudice in St Neots, but felt the negative perception of Islam in the media needed to be addressed.

"We are the second biggest religion in the world - there are 73 major branches of Islam but the media gives the impression we are all of one mind. The reaction to the cartoons in the Danish newspaper, for example, was an overreaction but that was the reaction the press presented to the world."

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which is established in 195 countries and calculates that it has 160million followers, was set up 120 years ago.

It has gained a reputation for its interfaith activities and humanitarian efforts.

Dr Asim Mumtaz, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association East Anglia, added: "The true peaceful Islam is poles apart from the hatred that is preached by a minority.

"Such extremists do not represent Islam yet, through the media, their words and deeds have a damaging impact on Muslims and non-Muslims every day."

John Denham, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, is supporting the campaign.

INFORMATION: Saturday's meeting at the Victory Hall, Somersham, is from 3pm to 4.30pm. See: www.LoveForAllHatredForNone.org or www.ahmadiyya.org.uk

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