One of Britain’s oldest Muslim communities says it is on a mission to “spread peace and harmony” at this time of heightened religious tension.
Plaistow’s Masjid Baitul Ahad is holding its public Peace Exhibition to tackle what organiser Abdul Khan says are “misconceptions” about his faith.
“There’s no need to be afraid of Islam,” he says. “We are holding the exhibition to create awareness of the peaceful teachings of Islam.”
The mosque represents the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, which condemns terrorism and works for community cohesion.
Abdul says that, after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, it is important to show Newham that extremists do not represent the Islamic principles laid down in the Qu’ran.
“People are doing violence but it’s not because it’s in the Qu’ran,” he argues. “They are doing it for their own political gains.”
In a statement, Abdul outlined what the mosque aimed to achieve with the exhibition.
He hopes to show that Ahmadiyya Muslims have a 100-year legacy of “faithfully serving the nation”. He also believes that the event will give a voice to law-abiding Muslims, who he insists are the true face of his faith.
Abdul has spoken out against the association of violence with the traditional teachings of Islam, and says there is no reason to fear his religion as a threat to the UK.
“As a Muslim community, we believe that it is our duty to serve this country and to stop extremism, particularly in the name of Islam, which teaches us peace, loyalty, freedom, equality, respect and love for all,” he says.
The event is set to begin with a presentation that will introduce attendees to the history of the UK’s Ahmadiyya Muslim community, whose motto is “love for all, hatred for none”.
Displays promoting peace with translated excerpts of Qu’ranic verses along with other literature will then be viewable.
The exhibition will be held on February 7, from 10.30am to 3pm.