‘Terrorists demonise our religion’

Reporter: USMA RAJA
Date published: 22 April 2009

TERRORISTS are demonising the peaceful religion of Islam, according to the Oldham Mosques Council.

The view was expressed during the launch of the “Not in Our Name” campaign at the Oldham Interfaith Forum, in Union Street West, yesterday.

Leaders urged the Muslim community to unite and work together to combat violent extremism while condemning all kinds of terrorist attacks.

The mosques council said they were inundated with concerns from the Muslim community which believed that all atrocities were automatically linked to Islam, especially by the media.

In a statement, the mosques council said: “We condemn suicide bombings, violent extremism and any other types of attacks that take human life and put the lives of anyone at risk.

“This is against our religion and it is against humanity.

“Acts which are killing innocent people in the name of Islam have no place in civilised society.

“Oldham Muslims are offended that these terrorists are hiding behind the peaceful religion of Islam.”

Basit Shah, who organised the event, said: “Our message is that the Muslim community should unite and work together to stop violent extremism.

“We also need the media’s help. In recent reports, the media had headlines reading ‘12 Pakistani men arrested on terrorism charges’, why mention their origin? They are innocent until proven guilty.

“When they are released no one hears about it. Muslims are feeling embarrassed by this.

“Terrorists are demonising the peaceful religion of Islam, and this has to stop.”

The Mosques Council has held three roadshows in Oldham attended by more than 900 young people.

Mufti Helal Mahmood said they have also trained more than 50 imams and madrassa teachers on community cohesion issues who have passed the message in their communities.

Majid Hussain, independent member of Greater Manchester Police Authority, added: “Acts of violent extremism and terrorism affects all of our communities and it is important for us to work together to prevent extremism and unite against these terrible atrocities.

“As a police authority, we welcome this initiative and I am pleased to be a part of this launch.”

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