A rally of over 20,000 packed Trafalgar Square on Saturday 11th February – a further rally is planned for next Saturday by the British Muslim Forum.
The well-organised rally of 11th February was supported by the Muslim Council of Britain with three leading national affliates, Islamic Forum Europe, Muslim Association of Britain and Da’watul Islam – drawing on its UK networks to mobilize the community.
The mood of the rally was angry but dignified. Dr Abdul Bari, Deputy Secretary General of the MCB in his address said that “this peace rally is about solidarity against incitement, against Islamophobia and against the vilification of Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him”.
Dawatul Islam President, Sheikh Mahmudul Hasan Khan, noted,”at this critical juncture in world history, the current controversy presents us with enormous challenges in our efforts to build a global society, which values diversity, and upholds human honour and dignity, regardless of faith or race”.
There was a moving address by the Rev’d Peter Sulston of Churches Together, pledging “we care as Christians about the name of Islam and will work with all our energy to dispel the stereotypes”. Solidarity was also conveyed by Kate Hudson of the CND and Lindsey German, Convenor of Stop the War Coalition.
The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone was represented by Lee Jasper, who made a brief but impassioned statement – “we will stand together in this great city”.
Other speakers included Anas Al-Tikriti (MAB), Dr Daud Abullah (MCB), Ismail Patel (Friends of Al-Aqsa), Maulana Shahid Raza (British Muslim Forum), Asghar Bukhari (MPAC), Ismail Satti (Islamic Revival), Yusra Gennoushi (MAB Youth) and Sulaiman Mulla (FOSIS). Dr Kamal Helbawi and Azzam Tamimi also delivered speeches.