Eight hundred people recently assembled in Britain’s largest mosque for a day-long peace conference. Yet the group that organised it is finding that its message of tolerance and respect is provoking increasing opposition — not from the far right, but from their fellow British Muslims.
The National Peace Symposium at the Baitul Futuh mosque in Morden was the 15th such event organised by the Ahmadi Muslim community, a sect of about ten million people worldwide that is based in south London.
Ahmadi Muslims spend much of their time promoting peace. “The word Islam itself means ‘peace’ and the whole of Islamic teaching is to have peace in the community and cohesion,” says Rafiq Hayat, president of the UK Ahmadi community.