An advertising campaign promoting British Muslims as integrated citizens who reject extremism has been launched. Islam is Peace – formed after the bombings in London in July 2005 – has initially placed adverts on the capital’s buses and Underground trains. They show a range of Muslims – including a policewoman, a Scout group and the chef Michael Barry – with the slogan “Proud to be a British Muslim”.
Organisers say research shows many Britons associate Islam with terrorism. The group insists that the religion demands that its followers live in peace with their neighbours within non-Muslim societies. But it says it recognises that Muslims have a duty to show that the vast majority of them wish to do so. After the initial London campaign, Islam Is Peace intends to launch a nationwide tour.
Ifhat Shaheen-Smith, one of the campaign organisers, said: “In the current atmosphere of suspicion and fear about Islam and British Muslims, truth is often confused with fabrications and stereotypes. Prejudice has become entrenched and sensationalistic media reporting is creating a climate of paranoia. There is a desperate need for openness, mutual understanding and a mature debate.”