UK Muslim group renews 'United Against Extremism' campaign

A UK Muslim charity is continuing its multi-strand campaign to counter extremist rhetoric following last month's atrocities in Paris with bus ads it says will "literally drive the message home".

Led by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK, a charity whose UK roots go back more than a century, the United Against Extremism campaign was given a boost this week.

A press event is being held this afternoon (Friday 4 December) in south London's Baitul Futuh Mosque - often said to be Europe's largest mosque. Attendees will mostly be from local media but the charity has done several radio interviews in addition to this, according to head of external relations Mahmood Rafiq.

Rafiq said that a previous event not long after Paris had been attended by national press, and that the charity took out a full-page advertisement on its anti-extremist message in The Independent newspaper on Friday, 20 November.

The campaign includes information shared on a dedicated section of the Ahmadiyya website via the URL, information promoted across social channels, and ads that have been placed on 100 London buses with the message 'united against extremism' alongside images of Paris' Eiffel Tower. The bus ads will run for two weeks, having rolled out on 3 December.

In addition, the charity says in a press release that it will distribute half a million leaflets across the UK highlighting "Islam's rejection of extremism and its emphasis on peace", and that it will highlight its peaceable attitudes.

According to a press release, London-based Caliph of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, has "repeatedly condemned extremist ideology", and said in the aftermath of the Paris attacks that: "Under no circumstances can murder ever be justified and those who seek to justify their hateful acts in the name of Islam are serving only to defame it in the worse possible way."

The charity's work has drawn praise from the Prime Minister and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister for Countering Extremism.

Last week, the Independent Press Standards Organisation said it had received 2,600 complaints about a front cover of The Sun, which claimed that one in five UK Muslims had sympathy with the terrorist group Islamic State. IPSO selected Muslim NGO MEND as its lead complaint as it launched an investigation.

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